The Roman Pantheon ("temple of all the gods"), was built around 25-27 B.C.E as a temple dedicated to the seven deities of the seven planets. This structure was ten destroyed, rebuilt, and was then converted to a Christian church at the 7th century and remains a functional church today. Perhaps the best preserved of all Roman architecture, the Parthenon is not only a tribute to the gods, but to human ingenuity and architecture itself.
Approximately 484 years after being rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in 125 C.E, the Pantheon was given to Pope Boniface IV by Emperor Phocas. The former Roman temple was reconsecrated as a Christian church known today as Santa Maria ad Martyres. This conversion saved the Parthenon from being destroyed, although the statues and majority of the marble on the exterior has been lost, the marble interior and bronze doors remain intact. During the renaissance, The Parthenon served to inspire some of the most famous architects of the time including Brunelleschi. During the rein of Pope Urban VIII, the pope ordered the bronze ceiling of the Parthenon's portico to be melted down. The melted bronze was used to create bombards for the fortification Castel Sant'Angelo and is rumored to have also been used by Bernini in creating the Baldachino above the main alter in Saint Peter's Basilica. This act leads to the proverb Quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt Barberini ("What the barbarians did not do, the Barberinis [Urban VIII's family name] did"). Other than serving as a regularly used church today, it is also the burial site of several important individuals including: Raphael, Baldassare Peruzzi, and two former kings of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I, as well as Umberto's Queen, Margherita.
I chose this piece of art in particular for many reasons, its durability, interior beauty, architectural significance, and the fact that it is still used to day make this piece stand out from everything else...