Florence art guide

Frà Giovanni da Fiesole known as Beato Angelico

beato angelico

Vicchio di Mugello 1400 ca.-Rome 1455

He first started painting in 1417 and shortly afterwards entered the Convent of San Domenico at Fiesole, eventually becoming its Prior. His first known works include some illuminated manuscripts and the Triptych of San Domenico (Museum of St. Mark), which still denotes Gothic trends as well as the clear influence of Lorenzo Monaco and Gentile da Fabriano.

santa trinita
Deposition in St.Trinita

From the time he painted the Triptych of San Pietro (1430, St. Mark Museum) he was more and more influenced by the work of Masaccio, whose plastic and spatial concepts were interpreted by Fra Angelico in the form of light and colour.
He became the most important Florentine painter of his time after he completed the famous Tabernacle of the Flax Dressers (1433, Museum of St. Mark) together with other important wooden panels (the Polyptych of Perugia, 1437; the St. Mark Altarpiece, 1438), where he tried to create the foundations for a new form of religious art; this was based on the ideals of the Renaissance though its mystic content was more interested in creating an ideal beauty, untouched by sin, rather than the exaltation of man, while its diaphanous light was not a Gothic leftover but a very personal (and somewhat Dominican) interpretation of the latest cultural ideas.


He moved to the convent of St. Mark in 1435, which had recently been transferred to the Dominicans and was being restructured thanks to the patronage of Cosimo dei Medici. Here he was in charge of the fresco decorations in the building (1438-1446), leaving masterpieces like the Annunciation and the Crucifixion in the Chapter House. He gradually created a formal simplification of painting that was in complete harmony with the plain architecture of Michelozzo.
Today the St. Mark Museum is really a museum dedicated to the work of Fra Angelico.

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