Artists of the Italian Renaissance

Paintings by Artists of the Italian Renaissance

Portraits of Fra Angelico

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Fra Angelico et al in the Convent of San Marco, Florence


Home of Fra Angelico, Fra Bartolomeo and Fra Savonarola


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A Dominican convent (mendicant orders like the Dominicans and Franciscans use the word convent for both men and women's establishments - equivalent Benedictine / Clunaic / Cistercian / etc terms are monastery / Abbey / Priory and nunnery) and now a museum. 


Cosimo de' Medici (1389- 1464 (75)) (Cosimo il Vecchio), recently returned (in 1434) from exile in Venice, anxious to ingratiate himself with the locals, and also pushed by the Pope to do something for God to provide some soul balance to the mega wealth he was accumulating from being monopoly banker to the church, kicked out the friars in 1436 and ordered Michelozzo, his favourite architect, to put up this simple and beautiful building for a new Dominican convent (including a two roomed "cell" for Cosimo himself). 


San Marco is now a museum housing many of the  paintings and frescoes by Beato (more commonly known as  Fra) Angelico (1395-1455 (60)) (who was a friar here),  Fra Bartlomeo (1475 - 1517 (42)) (also a friar, who painted here half a century after Fra Angelico) and others.  Every one of the monks' cells on the upper floor has its own fresco - it's worth going there just for these and the beautiful proportions of Europe's first public library  (also on the upper floor) - with displays of illuminated books . 


Fra Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1598 (46)) was a friar then Prior here for over a decade, and, for a short time, the ruler of Florence, before being executed by hanging then burning in the Piazza della Signora, Florence, on 23 May 1498.  LINK to portraits of Fra Angelico.



The cloisters, with the windows to the monks' cells on the upper floor



Michelozzo,  Library

Europe's first public library





Beato Angelico, Annunciation (at the top of the stairs to the dormitories upstairs).  This is one of the "signature" paintings of the Renaissance, but its setting at the top of the stairs to the dormitory makes it difficult to appreciate, and cell 3 is likely to be the experience you will remember more!   Both photos are from the book below.




Beato Angelico, Annunciation (Cell 3 - we would go to San Marco just to see this)



Early painting by Angelico of an Annunciation and the Magi

(from "Fra Angelico", Silvia Malaguzzi)








Sadly, this Thames and Hudson art book is now very difficult to obtain - try asking at the San Marco bookshop or the one in the Uffizi.  It is also possible that there is a similar book in Italian.



Beato Angelico, Annunciation.  Sorry, but you'll have to go to San Giovanni Val d'Arno to see this one - it's worth it though, because, unlike several of its sisters in San Marco, it has been brilliantly restored, and as a bonus San Giovanni Val d'Arno is an attractive "real town".







This other well restored Angelico Annunciation is in the the Museo Diocesano, Cortona (Tuscany), when it has not been lent out for an exhibition.  One such exhibition was at the Met in New York.  It's now over but the book, from which this photo came, is stunning.




Angelico Annunciation in the Prado Museum, Madrid.




Links to other Annunciations in Paradoxplace





The Nativity (Cell 5) (from book above)



Cell 39 - The Magi, San Marco, Florence



The Magi - Melchior, Balthazar and young Caspar, visit baby Jesus to pay their respects (Cell 39)





Domenico Ghirlandaio, Last Supper (in the small "board room" refectory downstairs - now the bookshop)


Link to other Last Supper Frescos in the Renaissance Refectories of Florence







Door for a Silver Cupboard painted by Fra Angelico

(museum postcard)



San Domenico (1170 - 1221 (51)) -  by Fra Bartolomeo (1475 - 1517 (42))

Both the paintings in this row are in Savanorola's cell in the Convent of San Marco, Florence





Francesco Rosselli (attr): The Execution of Savonarola in the Piazza della Signora, Florence, on 23 May 1498.


Fra Bartolomeo (1475 - 1517 (42)) paints Fra Girolamo Savanorola (1452 - 1498 (46)), Dominican friar, charismatic preacher, organizer of Italy's second bonfire of the vanities in 1497 (the first was in Venice), Prior of San Marco and briefly ruler of Florence before he himself was put on a bonfire in the Piazza della Signora in 1498 (left).



The Convent of San Marco is open most mornings and for the whole day most weekends EXCEPT ...... (see official Firenze Musei Information)


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