San Andrea is a Jesuit church that was commissioned by Pope Alexander VII. It was started in 1658 and completed in 1662. The space allowed was restricted, a challenge Bernini met with inspiration.
The interior uses an oval plan. As you can see in the floor plan, Bernini carved out four equal chapels on either side of the altar. The facade has a convex entryway flanked by two concave walls creating movement, a typical Baroque convention.
- tripartite composition
- single pedimented bay, versus the usual double tabernacle facade
- monumental Corinthian pilasters reminiscent of St. Peter's
- portico with freestanding Ionic columns
- semi circular entrance repeated in entablature
By diminishing the size of the coffers and narrowing the ribs toward the oculus, Bernini used illusion to suggest a higher dome. The dome has a ring of windows at the bottom to illuminate the interior.
An excellent example of the melding of architecture and sculpture is the High Altar with Antonio Raggi's sculpture of St. Stephen. Again the motif of projecting and recessing is used here. The plastic center pulls forward and projects the figure of St. Stephen breaking through the pediment in his ascent to heaven.