[bal-duh-kin, bawl-]

Baldachin, St. Peter's, Vatican City, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1624–33

Freestanding canopy of stone, wood, or metal over an altar or tomb. The Italian term baldacchino originally referred to brocaded material from Baghdad hung as a canopy over an altar or throne. The characteristic architectural form consists of four columns supporting entablatures, which carry miniature colonnades topped by a pyramidal or gabled roof. Gian Lorenzo Bernini's famous bronze baldachin (1624–33) stands at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

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