GOZZOLI, Benozzo
(b. ca. 1420, Firenze, d. 1497, Pistoia)

St Augustine Teaching in Rome (scene 6, south wall)

Fresco, 220 x 230 cm
Apsidal chapel, Sant'Agostino, San Gimignano

The scene of St Augustine Teaching in Rome shows the saint as an older man and scholar of rhetoric. Compared to Augustine's start at the School of Tagaste, Benozzo gave the scene an appropriate distance from the observer. The arrangement and scale of the figures underline the perspective indicated by the floor tiles. The parallel lines converge on the figure of the saint. The two listeners sitting to the right of him are repeated on the left as almost mirror images, thereby supporting the balance of the spatial composition. The pictorial space opens out towards the teacher. The dog sitting on the floor in the foreground is given a predominantly negative status in the Bible. The Fathers of the Church, in contrast, valued it as a guard and loyal shepherd, and it was interpreted as a symbol of the preacher.

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