Sandro Botticelli, Augustine

Table of Contents:

Sandro Botticelli

Augustine (1480)

Botticelli’s St. Augustine from 1480 is his first surviving fresco of which scholars are aware. He painted this scene for the Vespucci family in the now destroyed choir in the Church of Ognissanti in Florence. The work hung alongside Domenico Ghirlandaio’s St. Jerome facing the entrance to the church. 

St. Augustine of Hippo sits in his study, surrounded by books and instruments of scholarship that are rendered with utmost detail and vividity. The saint turns his attention to the light coming from the top left, which scholars indicate as a representation of Augustine’s vision of St. Jerome. According to an epistle from St. Augustine, a bright light appeared in his cell around sunset on the day of Jerome’s death. Jerome’s voice accompanied this light and spoke directly to St. Augustine. The members of the Order of the Umiliati who founded the church likely commissioned the image of St. Jerome to accompany Botticelli’s fresco.


Legouix, Susan. Botticelli. London: Chaucer Press, 2004. Pg. 76-77.

Lightbown, Ronald. Sandro Botticelli: Life and Work (vol. 1). Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978. pg. 50-51.