Art e Dossier

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Art History

Beato Angelico : biography

He first appeared on the artistic scene in 1417 as a painter in the Compagnia di San Niccolò al Carmine in Florence, and the following year he was paid by officials from Orsanmichele for a panel for the church of Santo Stefano. This was also the period when he entered the convent of San Domenico in Fiesole with the name of Fra Giovanni. His first works were the St. Peter Martyr triptych (c. 1420-1425) and the so-called Fiesole Altarpiece (originally a triptych), executed in a style akin to that of Lorenzo Monaco and Gentile da Fabriano, both of whom were distinguished exponents of late-Gothic painting. The powerful impact of Masaccio’s work made itself felt in Angelico’s, fine, simple images in the form of a new interest in the perspectival system, particularly evident in his backgrounds and architectural structures. A new phase in his work began with his Last Judgement for Santa Maria degli Angeli in 1431. Two years later, he was commissioned to paint the Linaiuoli Tabernacle. This was followed by some of his masterpieces: the Cortona Annunciation, the Coronation of the Virgin, in the Louvre (1434-1435), the Annalena Altarpiece (c. 1436) and the Deposition from the Cross (c. 1440) for the sacristy of Santa Trinita. He began to work in the convent of San Marco in 1438, first doing the San Marco Altarpiece and then a cycle of works with Gospel scenes for the monastic quarters. His frescos for the friars’ cells were sober and essential, brilliant colours giving way to softer tones. This work continued until after 1450, but in 1446 he was called to Rome to work on the Chapel of Nicholas V in the Vatican, which he decorated with his celebrated Lives of St. Lawrence and St Peter (1447-1450). Amongst his final works, executed before he returned to Rome in 1453 (where he died two years later), was the Bosco ai Frati Altarpiece and the Life of Christ for the Silver Treasury of Santissima Annunziata.

The works