The unusual complexities of the oval plan of Bernini's S. Andrea al Quirinale result from a series of variations founded in traditional Renaissance geometric method. Through the comparative analysis of new measured drawings of the church and existing archival evidence, the development of the design is traced from its initial Serlian beginnings to its final innovative resolution. Analysis of the drawings in conjunction with historical documents confirms Bernini's use of conservative geometric procedures and reveals the reasons for his subsequent departure from strictest practice. The manipulation of geometry, proportion, and dimension arose not only out of Bernini's concern for conceptual clarity and theoretical orthodoxy, but also from a desire to use geometry in the support of spatial organization. The geometry of the final design illuminates and underlines the essential simplicity of the interior and gives us a better understanding of Bernini's intentions for the viewer's visual experience.

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