|Title||The Dome in European Architecture|
|Publication Type||Book Chapter|
|Year of Publication||2005|
|Authors||Stephenson, David, and Victoria Hammond|
|Book Title||Visions of Heaven|
|Keywords||Architecture and Design|
In the Paradiso , Dante’s (1265–1321) soaring journey up through the nine heavenly circles leads to his ultimate vision of beauty and light: the Empyrean heaven. At this highest point of transcendence the poet finally apprehends the mysteries of time and space, for in this still center all space is here and all time is now . In the mystical language of architecture this heavenly sphere is symbolized by the dome, and the point of infinity beyond by the oculus—the void ringed by the central aperture of the dome. Though Dante’s vision of heaven is medieval, its circular imagery is a timeless metaphor for the marriage of geometry and the sacred in the form of the dome. Since its beginnings the dome has been used for religious purposes, becoming architecture’s universal expression of heaven.