PIETRASANTA, Jacopo da
(active 1452, d. 1495, Roma)

Interior view

1479-83
Photo
Sant'Agostino, Rome

The only building that is known to be by Pietrasanta is the church of Sant'Agostino in Rome, built for Cardinal Guillaume d'Estouteville. By the summer of 1481 the aisles and nave were vaulted and by the following winter the façade was almost completed. An inscription on the façade records a completion date of 1483. The plan is simple with vaulted nave, aisles and side chapels, and the square crossing is surmounted by a cupola, one of the earliest examples of its type in Rome.

The scooped-out side chapels echo those by Filippo Brunelleschi at Santo Spirito, Florence. The façade, made from travertine taken from the Colosseum, follows Leon Battista Alberti's composition in his prototype antique façade at the church of Santa Maria Novella, Florence. However, due to the insertion of compressed half pediments below the volutes and a clumsy handling of the architectural elements, the effect is awkward and does not compare with the sophistication of the interior.

In the 16th century, a lot of work was done in the interior. One of the artists commissioned for the decoration of the church was the young, but already famous, Michelangelo. In the early 16th century, he started painting The Entombment of Christ for the church. He never finished it, and the uncompleted work has made its way to England, where it can be seen in the National Gallery in London.

In 1660 there was an Apostolic Visitation in the church, and more work was carried out after that - presumably it became easier to obtain funding after that important occasion. In the 18th century, the interior was restored by Luigi Vanvitelli.

The photo shows the nave.

View the ground plan of Sant'Agostino, Rome.