Saint Augustine in His Study (Botticelli, Ognissanti)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Saint Augustine in His Study is a painting of Augustine of Hippo executed in 1480 by Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli. It is in the church of Ognissanti in Florence.


The work was commissioned by the Vespucci family together with a Saint Jerome in His Study by Domenico Ghirlandaio. Both depicted two Doctors of the Church in their studies, with a number of objects which should mark their role as precursors of Humanism.

They decorated the area next to the choir, which was demolished in the 18th century. In that occasion the two frescoes were removed and placed in the nave. Part of the annexed frame and the inscriptions went lost.


It portrays Augustine of Hippo in meditation inside his study. The Coat of Arms visible in the upper part is that of the Vespucci family; it has been supposed that the picture was commissioned by Amerigo Vespucci's father.

The lines in the book over the saint's head are mostly meaningless, apart from a line in which reads: Dov'è Frate Martino? È scappato. E dov'è andato? È fuor dalla Porta al Prato ("Where is Fra' Martino? He fled. And where did he go? He is outside Porta al Prato"), probably referring to the escapades of one of the monks of the church's convent.

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