Fra Angelico, Linaioli Tabernacle, 1433, (detail), tempera on panel, 292 x 176 cm, Florence, Museo di San Marco

Fra Angelico | Linaioli Tabernacle, 1433


Fra Angelico combined the influence of the elegantly decorative International Gothic style of Gentile da Fabriano with the more realistic style of such Renaissance masters as the painter Masaccio and the sculptors Donatello and Ghiberti, all of whom worked in Florence. Angelico was also aware of the theories of perspective proposed by Leon Battista Alberti. Angelico's representation of devout facial expressions and his use of colour to heighten emotion are particularly effective. His skill in creating monumental figures, representing motion, and suggesting deep space through the use of linear perspective, especially in the Roman frescoes, mark him as one of the foremost painters of the Renaissance.

The Linaioli Tabernacle is composed of a rectangular marble frame, with a triangular top with a sculpted almond depicting the "Blessing Christ and Cherubims". In the center, within an arched opening, are Fra Angelico's panel of the Maestà with twelve musician angels.
At the front are two shutter panels with further paintings of saints. These are, internally, St. John the Baptist (left) and St. John the Evangelist (right); and externally St. Mark the Evangelist (left) and St. Peter (right). The panels are completed by a predella, placed below, with three scenes of St. Peter Dictating the Gospel to St. Mark, Adoration of the Magi and Martyrdom of St. Mark. The figure of Mark is recurrent due to his status as the patron of the corporation which commissioned the work.

The central panel, although damaged, has a style similar to Angelico's early works, with a marble step over which is the throne. Behind two draperies (perhaps a hint to the guild's textile activities) is a ceiling painted in blue with stars and the Holy Spirit dove, which is similar to Masolino's Annunciation in Washington, DC.

The Linaioli Tabernacle had been moved to the Palazzo della Borsa as early as 1777, together with other works commissioned by the city's guilds. In that year it was transferred to the Uffizi, whence it was transferred to the current location in 1924.

The tabernacle was restored in 2010.

The Linaioli Tabernacle, 1433

The Arte de' Linaiuoli, the Guild of Linen Manufacturers, commissioned this altarpiece from Angelico in 1432, for the Residenza of the Guild in the Piazza Sant' Andrea in Florence. The mammoth frame, 520 cm high and 270 cm wide, was designed by Ghiberti and executed by three craftsmen in his workshop. It is firmly classical, with round arch, dental cornice, and pediment.

The marble parts were executed by Simone di Nanni da Fiesole, under design by Lorenzo Ghiberti. The contract for the internal paintings was signed by Angelico on 2 July 1433, for a total of 190 golden florins. The predella is generally dated to 1433-1435.

The work was a large one, comparable only to Cimabue's Santa Trinita Maestà or Duccio di Buoninsegna's Rucellai Madonna. It has been speculated that the marble frame was sized according to a pre-existing painting, which was later replaced by Fra Angelico's, or that the size was inspired by that of the statues in Orsanmichele niches.[1]

With closed shutters it represents the statuesque figures of St Mark and St Peter, while with open doors the Virgin and Child Enthroned with St John the Baptist and St Mark. The three predella pictures are the Predicament of St Peter, the Adoration of the Magi and the Martyrdom of St Mark.

On the outside of the doors are two monumental and statuesque figures: St Mark and St Peter. Both stand on flat but irregularly edged rocks. The background is dark and unarticulated: there is no attempt to claim it for the picture space. St Mark's lion crouches behind his right leg. St Peter holds his key and gazes heavenwards.

The doors of the triptych open to reveal the Virgin and Child Enthroned with St John the Baptist and St Mark. The two saints have the same three-dimensional qualities as their companions on the outside of the triptych. St John the Baptist is shown with his right arm curved round and up across his chest and left shoulder, and the top of his cross pushed back away from the viewer. The right foot is to the fore. The extended hand of St Mark on the Virgin's right draws the eye into the space occupied by the figure.

The central panel of The Virgin and Child differs from its predecessors in Angelico's oeuvre in the absence of a circle of space-defining angels. Greater realism is achieved by translating part of the traditional gold background into elaborate golden curtains which frame the Virgin, the outline thus created echoing a pointed arch. She has the same solidity and three-dimensional qualities as the saints in the work. The Child is clothed and stands upright holding His arms out in blessing. He lacks the overtly puerile qualities of many infant Christ's of the Renaissance and as a result appears medieval or Byzantine.


Liniauoli Tabernacle, closed

Liniauoli Tabernacle, open

Fra Angelico, Linaioli Tabernacle, 1433, (detail), tempera on panel, 292 x 176 cm, Florence, Museo di San Marco

The central panel depicting the Madonna and the Child is surrounded by a band of 20 cm width which contains 12 angels playing different musical instruments. This band can be seen only when the tabernacle is open. These angels are among the most famous and most popular paintings of Fra Angelico.



Fra Angelico, Linaioli Tabernacle, 1433, (details), Florence, Museo di San Marco

Fra Angelico, Linaioli Tabernacle, 1433, (detail), tempera on panel, 292 x 176 cm, Florence, Museo di San Marco

St John the Baptist is depicted on the left wing of the Linaioli tabernacle, while on the right wing St John the Evangelist can be seen. These two figures form part of a work that in 1433 opened the way to a new horizon for early renaissance religious painting.

Predella paintings


St Peter Preaching in the Presence of St Mark

Fra Angelico, Linaioli Tabernacle, 1433, (predella, Apostle Peter Preaching), tempera on panel, 39 x 56 cm, Florence, Museo di San Marco


Adoration of the Magi

Fra Angelico, Linaioli Tabernacle, 1433, (predella, Adoration of the Magi), tempera on panel, 39 x 56 cm, Florence, Museo di San Marco

The Martyrdom of St Mark

Fra Angelico, Linaioli Tabernacle, 1433, (predella, Martyrdom of Saint Marc), tempera on panel, 39 x 56 cm, Florence, Museo di San Marco


[1] Fra Giovanni Da Fiesole, Fra Angelico
Florentine painter, a Dominican friar, originally named Guido di Pietro. Although in popular tradition he has been seen as 'not an artist properly so-called but an inspired saint', (Ruskin), Angelico was in fact a highly professional artist, who was in touch with the most advanced developments in contemporary Florentine art and in later life travelled extensively for prestigious commissions.
Angelico entered a Dominican convent in Fiesole in 1418 and became a friar using the name Giovanni da Fiesole. Although his teacher is unknown, he apparently began his career as an illuminator of missals and other religious books. He began to paint altarpieces and other panels; among his important early works are the Madonna of the Star (c. 1424, San Marco, Florence) and San Domenico Altarpiece with a predella representing Christ in Glory Surrounded by Saints and Angels (National Gallery, London), which depicts more than 250 distinct figures. Among other works of that period are two of the Coronation of the Virgin (Uffizi, Florence and Louvre, Paris) and The Deposition and The Last Judgment (San Marco). His mature style is first seen in the Madonna of the Linen Weavers (1433, San Marco), which features a border with 12 music-making angels.
In 1436 some of the Dominican friars of Fiesole moved to the convent of San Marco in Florence, which had recently been rebuilt by Michelozzo. Angelico, sometimes aided by assistants, painted many frescoes for the cloister, chapter house, and entrances to the 20 cells on the upper corridors. The most impressive of these are The Crucifixion, Noli Me Tangere, and Transfiguration. His altarpiece for San Marco (1439?) is one of the first representations of what is known as a Sacred Conversation: the Madonna flanked by angels and saints who seem to share a common space. In 1445 Angelico was summoned to Rome by Pope Eugenius IV to paint frescoes for the now destroyed Chapel of the Sacrament in the Vatican. In 1447, with his pupil Benozzo Gozzoli, he painted frescoes for the cathedral in Orvieto. His last important works, frescoes for the chapel of Pope Nicholas in the Vatican, are Scenes from the Lives of Saints Stephen and Lawrence (1447-1449), probably partly painted from his designs by assistants.
Angelico died in Rome and was buried in the church of S. Maria sopra Minerva, where his tombstone still exists. His most important pupil was Benozzo Gozzoli and he had considerable influence on Italian painting. He painted numerous altarpieces as well as frescos, several outstanding examples being in the S. Marco museum. His particular grace and sweetness stimulated the school of Perugia, and Fra Bartolommeo, who followed him into S. Marco in 1500, had something of his restraint and grandeur. Vasari, who referred to Fra Giovanni as a simple and most holy man, popularized the use of the name Angelico for him, but he says it is the name by which he was always known, and it was certainly used as early as 1469. The painter has long been called 'Beato Angelico' (the Blessed Angelico), but his beatification was not made official by the Vatican until 1984.

Giorgio Vasari, Fra Giovanni da Fiesole

Restituzioni tesori d'arte restaurati - INTESA SANPAOLO - Il Tabernacolo dei Linaioli del Beato Angelico restaurato - La mostra

Art in Tuscany | Giorgio Vasari | Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects | Fra Angelico

Polo Museale Fiorentino - Catalogo delle opere, una scheda di catalogo | Il Tabernacolo dei Linaioli del Beato Angelico

Giorgio Vasari | Le vite de' più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori italiani, da Cimabue insino a' tempi nostri | Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (Fra Angelico)

This page incorporates text from the article Angelico, Fra by William Michael Rossetti, in the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain, and uses material from the Wikipedia articles Fra Angelico, and Tabernacle of the Linaioli, published under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to the Tabernacle of the Linaioli.


Museo di San Marco


The San Marco Museum occupies the oldest part of a Dominican monastery rebuilt by Michelozzo during the decade from 1436 to 1446 by appointment of Cosimo de' Medici the Elder.
Michelozzo attempted to use as much as possible the walls of the old building to create a monastery whose rooms and layout are in line with completely modern criteria of functionality, still recognisable today.
Overall, the building is a monumental complex with all the sobriety and elegance typical of Florentine Renaissance architecture.

On the ground floor, the rooms formerly used for community life: the Hospice for the pilgrims next to the entrance, the Chapter Hall, the Washroom, the Refectory and the adjoining room used for the kitchen and other facilities; there is also a small 15th-century cloister, called Chiostro della Spesa, and a courtyard, the so-called Granary Courtyard.
During this same period, the building was endowed with an extraordinary cycle of paintings by Fra Angelico who lived and lived in the monastery in 1387 and 1400-1455. A number of the ground-floor rooms house a remarkable collection of panel paintings by Fra Angelico: particularly fine are the Last Judgement, the Linaioli Tabernacle, the Deposition, the Silver Wardrobe doors.
The San Marco Museum also houses a number of works by Fra Bartolomeo (1472-1517), including a famous portrait of Savonarola.

The Library, the first Renaissance library open to the public, formerly held the Italian, Latin and Greek codices that belonged to the Humanist, Niccolò Niccoli, which later passed to the Laurentian Library.
It now holds a precious collection of over a hundred illuminated choir books from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, originating from this monastery and other suppressed monasteries and convents.
San Marco Museum |

Museo di San Marco
Piazza di San Marco, 1
50121 Firenze

Opening hours :

Monday-Friday: 8.15-13.50; Saturday: 8.15-18.50; Sunday: 8.15-19.00
Closed : New Year's Day, May 1st and Christmas Day


San Marco a Firenze

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Podere Santa Pia
Podere Santa Pia, garden in April
The Maremma and Monte Christo, view from the terrace
Orvieto, Duomo
Siena, Duomo
Florence, Duomo

Banfi, Castello di Poggio alle Mura,
view from Podere Santa Pia

Castello Colle Massari,
view from Podere Santa Pia

Castel Porrona, a charming medieval village dating back to the 11th century, between Cinigiano and Castiglioncello Bandini and Podere Santa Pia

Podere Santa Pia is located 3 km from Castigliocello Bandini, 15 km from Abazziia San 't Antimo and Montalcino, close to art cities like Siena, Pienza, Montepulciano and San Quirico d'Orcia, and 1 hour away from the seaside. Grosseto is Tuscany`s most southernly province and is considered to be the capital of Tuscan Maremma. Grosseto is the most southern Tuscan province. The town is situated about 12 kilometres from the sea, in the heart of Tuscan Maremma, a wide alluvial plain. In the past, the lake Prile spread over most of this territory. The lake has almost disappeared due to the drainage works undertaken in this area during the centuries. The various natural reserves surrounding Grosseto witness nonetheless Maremma`s past as a marshland. South of Grosseto flows the Ombrone, the most important river in southern Tuscany. At the river mouth there is the Parco dell`Uccellina.
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