Paintings for the Armadio degli Argenti (1451-52)
by Fra ANGELICO

Fra Angelico was commissioned for a massive painted cabinet to protect the precious silver votive offerings at Santissima Annunziata, among the most venerable churches in Florence.

The Armadio degli Argenti (Silver Chest) may have been the most visible of the friar's work by virtue of the site for which it was made. Santissima Annunziata was the motherhouse of the Servites, founded by St Filippo Benizzi (c. 1233-1285), the only religious order that originated in Florence. The sacrality of the church was augmented further when, as legend recounted, an angel completed the fresco of the Annunciation in 1252. By the early fifteenth century, the Annunciation had become the centre of a major cult, receiving donations of precious silver. In the late 1440s, Michelozzo renovated Santissima Annunziata at the behest of Piero de' Medici to accommodate the throngs of worshippers who flocked to behold the sacred image. To safeguard the silver offerings to the Annunciation, Piero commissioned a wooden cabinet, the movable shutters of which Fra Angelico painted.

Angelico's series depicting scenes from the life of Christ consisted of 40 paintings of equal size (38,5 x 37 cm) and one additional double-sized painting. From the 41 paintings 6 were lost during the centuries. From the 35 paintings conservated in the Museo di San Marco 3 can be attributed to Baldovinetti, all the others are the work of Fra Angelico.



Preview Picture Data Info
Scenes from the Life of Christ
1451-52
Tempera on panel, 123 x 123 cm
Museo di San Marco, Florence


Scenes from the Life of Christ
1451-52
Tempera on panel, 123 x 160 cm
Museo di San Marco, Florence


Scenes from the Life of Christ
1451-52
Tempera on panel, 123 x 160 cm
Museo di San Marco, Florence


Paintings for the Armadio degli Argenti (detail)
1451-52
Tempera on wood, 118 x 75 cm
Museo di San Marco, Florence


Paintings for the Armadio degli Argenti
1451-52
Tempera on wood, 118 x 75 cm
Museo di San Marco, Florence


Mystic Wheel (The Vision of Ezekiel)
1451-52
Tempera on panel, 39 x 39 cm
Museo di San Marco, Florence


Annunciation
1451-52
Tempera on wood, 38,5 x 37 cm
Museo di San Marco, Florence


Flight into Egypt
1451-52
Tempera on wood, 38,5 x 37 cm
Museo di San Marco, Florence


Massacre of the Innocents
1451-52
Tempera on wood, 38,5 x 37 cm
Museo di San Marco, Florence


Communion of the Apostles
1451-52
Tempera on wood, 38,5 x 37 cm
Museo di San Marco, Florence


Circumcision
1451-52
Tempera on wood, 38,5 x 37 cm
Museo di San Marco, Florence



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



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