Church of Sant’Andrea
Architect Leon Battista Alberti
Date designed 1470
Movement Italian Renaissance
Located at Mantua, Italy
This basilica was commissioned by the Gonzaga family. Here, Alberti attempts to marry Classical temple devices with the Christian basilica—the façade features a pronounced pediment that is balanced by four supporting pilasters of colossal order; two additional pilasters support a triumphant arch, which gives way to a central niche, forming the portal; this arched niche are mirrored in pairs on both sides of the portal. Further unity is achieved by the way in which Alberti fits the entire façade into the shape of a square.
Inside, a massive, coffered barrel vault flanked by chapel bays echoes the Roman baths and basilicas of old. The structure offers more simplicity and compactness than other contemporaneous churches of the time. Alberti’s original plan did not include a transept, dome or choir, which were added in the mid-eighteenth century.