Fra Angelico: San Marco, Florence

Fra Angelico: San Marco, Florence

by William Hood

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Fra Angelico, a Dominican monk, covered the walls of the Church of San Marco in Florence with elegant frescoes from 1440 to 1452. These two books treat those paintings in different ways, adding to their mystery and reality. Hood's presentation in Braziller's series provides a basis for understanding the paintings and the artist who produced them. In this two-part book, the introductory first part is divided into four sections, covering the architecture of the church and cloister; biographical background on the artist; information on the frescoes and their placement, which reveal the political climate of the day; and Fra Angelico's virtuosity and technical ability. The second part contains full-page color plates and commentaries on the frescoes. Hood acknowledges that French scholar Didi-Huberman was the first to apply medieval and Renaissance scholastic thought to analysis of the San Marco frescoes. Didi-Huberman uses the frescoes as a starting point to discuss how they conjure up philosophical and theological questions from holy scripture and authors such as Albertus Magnus, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, etc., that Fra Angelico, as an observant, 15th-century Dominican friar, would have known and meditated on daily. Angelico's access to the prestigious library at San Marco provided a wealth of texts that would have been integral to the thinking of that community and contributed to the knowledge used in the production of the frescoes. This translation is difficult reading, with many Latin words and phrases. Readers who would like a less densely written account of the paintings in their historical context might consult Hood's unique work Fra Angelico at San Marco (LJ 6/15/93), which discusses the meaning of Dominican life at San Marco and its influence on choice of subject matter in the frescoes. Didi-Huberman can be appreciated by the medieval and Renaissance scholar, philosopher, or theologian and is recommended for special collections. Hood appeals to a wider audience of travelers and lay readers, as well as art historians and students, and is recommended for special and public collections.Ellen Bates, New York
The cloister of San Marco was the home of the great Renaissance painter, Fra Angelico. Between about 1440 and 1452, he and his assistants covered the complex with more than 50 frescoes which are remarkably suited to their particular sites. The whole ensemble was designed to convey the ancient ideas and traditions of the Dominican order. This guide includes introductory matter as well as 40 color plates with commentary. 10x7.5" Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Braziller, George Inc.
Publication date:
The Great Fresco Cycles of the Renaissance
Product dimensions:
10.38(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.76(d)

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