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Santa Maria Novella: Interior of nave looking towards altar
The large nave is 100 metres long and gives an impression of austerity. Pulpit is visible on the left; commissioned by the Rucellai family in 1443, was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi.
The second design commissioned by Giovanni Rucellai, the spectacular green-and-white patterned stone façade of S Maria Novella, was begun in or soon after 1458, the year in which Rucellai obtained rights of patronage, and was probably completed in 1470. For this project, Alberti was not only faced with the problem of devising a classical scheme for a church with a tall nave and lower side aisles, but he was also required to incorporate the beginnings of an earlier façade. To provide a visual transition from the wider lower storey to the narrower upper one, Alberti installed a pair of giant S-shaped scrolls reversed volutes, inspired by those of Brunelleschi's lantern (designed 1436) at Florence Cathedral.