The façade was built in 1483 by Giacomo di Pietrasanta, using travertine taken from the Colosseum. The architect was from Tuscany and based his project on a pattern established by Leon Battista Alberti in Florence’s S. Maria Novella. The design of the church is attributed to the late 15th century architect Baccio Pintelli, with later 18th century restorations of the interior by Luigi Vanvitelli.
The illustration below of S. Agostino is accurate in the detail, but grossly wrong as far as proportions are concerned. The actual church is wider and the central painting is smaller. Foreign engravers, especially German and Dutch engravers, tended to increase the height of Roman buildings and gave them an almost Gothic appearance. This comes from a 1588 Roman guide for pilgrims.
One comes upon the graceful facade of today’s Station in its quiet piazza after coming from the busy streets near Piazza Navona. Originally the station was the church of St. Tryphon. This was an older church which once stood near here but was demolished to make room for the adjacent Augustinian convent. The church of St. Augustine, under the patronage of the great pastor and author of the fourth and fifth centuries, dates back to the medieval period, with the first church dating from 1296 and construction continuing over the following two centuries, finishing in 1446. Soon after, this was almost completely rebuilt as the present structure, beginning in 1479 and completed in 1483. While the exterior appearance still asserts the Renaissance origins of this church, the interior modifications began almost as soon as it was completed. The pillars of the nave were covered with frescoes in the mid-sixteenth century; the high altar, a work of Bernini, was constructed in 1626-28. A more general renovation took place in 1750 and again in 1860. Through all of these changes the interior has maintained its order and proportions, reminding us of the age in which it was built when the new intellectual ideas of the Renaissance were spreading throughout Europe.
Let us pray.
Bow your heads to God.
May Your faithful people, O God, be strengthened by Your gifts; that by receiving them, they may still desire them, and by desiring them, may evermore receive them.
Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
Meditation for the 3rd day of Lent from last year’s blogpost: Saturday after Quinquagesima Sunday
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