Saint Augustine

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Vittore Carpaccio, St. Augustine in His Study, 1502, tempera on panel, 141 cm x 210 cm, Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, Venice

Augustine (354-430) was born to a Christian mother and pagan father, and was never baptized.  He taught rhetoric and philosophy in several cities, and eventually came to Milan where he was so influenced by the teachings of Saint Ambrose that he was baptized in 386.  In 396 he became the bishop of Hippo.

Several episodes from his life (and corresponding attributes) are frequently depicted.  They include:  his baptism by Saint Ambrose, his vision of the Holy Spirit whle working in his study, washing Christ's feet dressed as a pilgrim, and the encounter with a boy attempting to empty the ocean with a seashell.

His many attributes are not all depicted here, and can include a dove (signifying the Holy Spirit), a piered heart (sometimes on fire), and a child with a shell.