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Fra Angelico’s works reflect the serenity, discipline and anonymity of the communal religious life. But he still managed to infuse them with compassion which is what gives them their timeless appeal. Each time he painted an already familiar theme, he was still able to give it new expression and development compare the early Cortona Annunciation with the San Marco version, painted 20 years later. The Deposition from the Cross is another good example of a formal religious composition filled with deep emotion and humanity.
The frescoes of San Marco Noli Me Tangere and The Coronation of the Virgin dominate the convent cells. They were aids to meditation and spiritual exercise and were simple, constant reminders to the friars of the religious discipline necessary to the community. The restrained economy of these frescoes contrasts well with Scenes from the Life of St Lawrence which emphasize the narrative and include a wealth of extra details. The Flight into Egypt and the Massacre of the Innocents develop this realism even more intensely and take Fra Angelico firmly into the main body of 15th- century Italian painting.
This is the first undoubted masterpiece painted by Fm Angelica, whim‘: his followers then tried to imitate. Beneath an arcade partly enclosed by columns, the Virgin leans forward to hear the angel’ ‘message while, to the left, Adam and Eve are being expelled from the Garden of Eden. There is strong sense of mystery and earnestness.
Designed to be set on a wall, not over an altar, this work is a meditation on the sufferings of Christ. Although the composition is arranged across the whole panel, the figures form three distinct groups. The centre is taken up with the body of Christ; on the right are men in Florentine dress; on the aft are the holy women, among them the Virgin Mary.
One of a series of Scenes from the Life of Christ, which decorate the 11, cells on the upper floor of the San Marco monastery. This fresco is in Celli. The two heads are both carefully silhouetted against different backgrounds; note the minutely observed foreground.
This work can be found in Cell 9. Although Fra Angelico had painted this theme Alive, the treatment here is quite different. The coronation is a private affair with no audience, accompanied Only by six kneeling saints
Found in the upper corridor facing a staircase, this fresco was possibly painted after Fm Angel ice's return from Rome. It is one of the finest and most intimate of his frescoes, with the figures, enclosed within an empty chamber, framed try solid columns with decorated capitals. The atmosphere is subdued and quiet; compare it with the urgency and hidden drama of the Cortona Annunciation.
This work is part of a fresco cycle commissioned by Pope Nicholas V and is the only surviving series painted in Rome by Fra Angelico. It shows Pope Sixtus II giving St Lawrence the church treasures while Roman soldiers beat down the door.
This is immediately to the right of the Treasures fresco and is another episode in the hp of St Lawrence. The saint is shown distributing alms to a group of beggars, cripples, women and small children.
One of 35 scenes commissioned by Piero de' Medici on Themes from the Life of Christ, which were to decorate a silver chest in the Santissima Annunziata church, Florence. The figures are very lifelike note the convincing way Mary is seated on the donkey.
Another example from the Medici silver chest series, showing how much Fra Angelico had developed from his earlier works. Herod looks on from behind a wall while, in the foreground, the weeping women are portrayed in a remarkably realistic manner.
Writer – Marshall Cavendish