Study of a central church - by Leonardo da Vinci

This design for a basilica, with its ground plan, perspective and a many-domed tribune, is a fairly conventional representation of a Renaissance church, with a long nave and the area of the transepts converted into a square with bay shapes around the sides. Leonardo was, however, a great exponent of the centralized design of churches, drawing many versions of circular or star-shaped basilicas with no nave at all.

This design is more conventional in shape, but Leonardo has created the tribune as a centralized design added on to the long nave. The intersecting lines of the spaces under the dome resolve themselves into harmonious patterns of squares, rectangles and semicircles. From the outside, the cube-like shape of the tribune is softened by the three bays of the chapels on the flat walls of the church and the dome above on its drum, surrounded by four smaller domes on the four corners of the cube. This has similarities with the great Duomo in Florence, the Santa Maria del Fiore, which was a familiar sight to Leonardo.