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

Funeral of St Augustine (scene 17, south wall)

Fresco, width 440 cm
Apsidal chapel, Sant'Agostino, San Gimignano

The last scene showing the Funeral of St Augustine appears in the lunette field on the south wall. The construction of the picture is clearly reminiscent of the Death of St Francis in Montefalco, but because of the open columned loggia in the background it has a more harmonious composition. As in Montefalco, thedead man's bier is standing in the foreground.

The loggia behind the mourners is a quotation of the Ospedale degli Innocenti (orphanage) which Filippo Brunelleschi started building in Florence in 1419. The orphanage, which is situated in the vicinity of the monastery of San Marco, would certainly have been known by Benozzo, for the innovative columned architecture that the building used soon spread right across Europe. It is all the more astonishing, however, that in this picture pillars instead of columns are supporting the arches, in keeping with a requirement in Leon Battista Alberti's famous treatise "De Re Aedificatoria" (On Architecture), written in 1451.

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