Frescoes in the Convento di San Marco (1438-50)
by Fra ANGELICO

The return of Cosimo de' Medici to Florence in 1434 enabled the Dominicans, of whom he had long been a patron, to secure for themselves the ruined convent of San Marco. Its rebuilding began in 1437, and its decoration very soon after. The San Marco frescoes were intended not as means of instruction, still less as decoration, but as aids to contemplation and meditation. The brother who inhabited each cell was to have constantly before his eyes a vivid yet chaste reminder of one of the events in the life of Christ.

Executed between 1438 and 1443, the works for San Marco comprised the most extensive surviving programme of decoration for a religious community. It included the high altarpiece, nearly fifty monumental frescoes for the cloister, Chapter House and dormitory cells, as well as illuminated choir books for the celebration of Mass. These paintings translated the brilliant spiritual, intellectual and visual culture of the Dominican Order for diverse constituencies, from its patrons and parishioners to the community of friars, novices, and lay brothers who lived within its walls.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 48 minutes):
Johann Sebastian Bach: Easter Oratorio, BWV 249


Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
View of the Convent of San Marco
1436
-
Convento di San Marco, Florence

1034*700
True Color
103 Kb



View of the Convent of San Marco
1436
-
Convento di San Marco, Florence

575*813
True Color
72 Kb



St Peter Martyr
1441-42
Fresco
Convento di San Marco, Florence

900*1077
True Color
132 Kb



Plan of the upper floor in the Convento di San Marco
1436
-
Convento di San Marco, Florence

611*393
True Color
32 Kb



Plan of the ground floor in the Convento di San Marco
1436
-
Convento di San Marco, Florence

597*391
True Color
37 Kb




Summary of paintings by Fra Angelico
Altarpieces
San Domenico | Prado | Linaioli | Last Judgment | Annunciation
Cortona Triptych | Perugia | San Marco | Trinitŕ | Various
Frescoes
Convent of San Marco: cells, others | Cappella Niccolina
Other works
Armadio degli Argenti | Various panels | Miscellaneous