By Samantha Woodward
On Thursday, the Museo di San Marco, The Museum of San Marco, in the Piazza San Marco re-opened and completely renovated “The Hospice” led by The Regional Directorate of Museums of Tuscany. The room is home to a collection of Fra Angelico paintings said to be the most important in the world.
The opening of the Beato Angelico Room was streamed on the Museo di San Marco’s Facebook page to work in accordance with Italy’s COVID-19 restrictions. The livestream debuted the new exhibit along with five of the directors at the museum presenting the opening.
The display contains 16 pieces created by the 15th-century friar. Some pieces include his famous wors of Deposition from the Cross, the Tabernacle of the Linaioli and the San Marco Altarpiece.
The layout of the exhibit was drastically changed the structural elements of the piece’s placement, lighting, and color concepts to better tell the chronological order in which the pieces were created. Italian and English captions and panels were added to the pieces. Additionally, restorations have been made to pieces including The Lamentation over the Dead Christ, finally putting the lower half on display for viewers.
The lighting adjustment to the room was said to be important in terms of the viewer’s readability of the piece as well as their enjoyment. The display supports were also updated to be more sturdy and sleek to fit the aesthetic of the room.
The concept of harmony between the layout and the lighting of the exhibit to create a better experience for visitors was a driving goal that led to the restructuring of the room.
Angelo Tartuferi, the director of the Museo di San Marco, said “the new layout shines the international spotlight once again on this unparalleled collection of paintings by Fra Angelico, now properly lit at long last and which. I truly believe will arouse the enthusiasm of lay visitors and scholars alike.”
The museum has been regularly updating their Facebook page exhibiting the pieces of the new room to showcase some history behind it as well as video interviews with curators and directors at the museum.
Guido di Pietro, Fra Angelico, (“Angelic Brother”) was an Italian painter who lived and worked at the beginning of the 15th-century, born in 1395 and died in 1455. He was well respected for his reputation as an Early Renaissance painter who painted the series of frescoes for his friary, San Marco, in Florence, Italy.
Angelico was praised for her devotion to his Christian morals as a friar as well as ahis balance as an accomplished artist. Fellow Italian painter Georgie Vasari once described him as “saintly and excellent” and having a “rare and perfect talent”.