Spolia in the architecture of St. Peter's in the Vatican.
Around 320 AD a large church was built in Rome above the tomb of the apostle Peter, who had died as a martyr. Some 1200 years later, in the early years of the sixteenth century, it was Pope Julius II who wanted to restore part of this building, which in the end resulted in a large scale and difficult building operation. In the first half of the seventeenth century the last parts of the early Christian church were demolished. In The power of tradition the architecture of both churches is described as interrelated histories, because after all, new St. Peter's succeeded old St. Peter's. In a fascinating way the history of the materials used comes to the fore: old columns were used again in the new church in order to visualise the continuity of the church of Saint Peter.
'Veel illustraties, bijlagen en register maken dit boek interessant voor hen die kerk-geschiedenis óók opvatten als geschiedenis van kerkgebouwen. Bosman maakt aannemelijk dat we via zijn studie inzicht krijgen in de vroegste kerk van de Sint Pieter, vele eeuwen nadat die is verdwenen.' H.H.J van As in: Protestants Nederland 71 (2005) nr. 2. 'In this handsomely produced, slim volume Lex Bosman traces the history of the spolia-collumns of Old St. Peter's from their first appearance in the original Constantinian foundation to their reappearance in the redesigned, modern basilica. (...) Bosman's study offers much on which to chew. Thick at times, the study is propelled by an enthusiasm in its scholarship and writing for the site, for its history, and for its very material. (...) Bosman's book calls readers to look again at St. Peter's, carefully and with new excitement for these original building materials.' Dorothy Metzger Habel in: Renaissance Quarterly 58 (2005), p. 1314-1316. 'Door de rode draad van de spolia te hanteren geeft Bosman een goed beeld van de complexiteit van het ontwerp- en bouwproces dat tot de uiteindelijke herbouw van de oude St. Pieter leidde.' Mariëtte Verhoeven in: Millennium 20 (2006), p. 73-75; 'Depite some tediousness, Bosman schould be applauded for his cogent arguments and significant findings.' Ann Thomas Wilkins in: Caa.reviews 12-06-2007. Verder gesignaleerd in: Journal für Kunstgeschichte 10 (2006) 1, p. 12-17; ArtHist, arthist.net, mei 2005; Notizinio Inverno 2005, p. 21-22