ANGELICO, Fra
(b. ca. 1400, Vicchio nell Mugello, d. 1455, Roma)

Sacra Conversazione

c. 1443
Fresco, 195 x 273 cm
Convento di San Marco, Florence

This fresco on the wall of the east corridor of the convent is also called Madonna of the Shadows (Madonna delle Ombre).

Painted in the corridor off which the brethren's cells open (between cells 25 and 26), this fresco was one of Fra Angelico's last works in San Marco's Dominican Monastery. There is almost a metaphysical feel to the frozen gestures, the deep gazes, and the strong and boldly-applied colours. This sensation is boosted by the power of the side-lighting, which in turn is emphasized by the long shadows cast by the classical capitals. These are reminiscent of architecture by Michelozzo. This fresco is the painter's ultimate achievement of wonderful synthesis between his mystical inspiration and the effective application of recent breakthroughs in Renaissance painting.