Beato Angelico's Missal

Ms. 558 - Museo Nazionale di San Marco (Florence, Italy)

Alternate Titles:

Il Messale del Beato Angelico, Graduale di San Domenico, The San Domenico Missal, Missale des Fra Beato Angelico

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Il Messale del Beato Angelico
Graduale di San Domenico
The San Domenico Missal
Missale des Fra Beato Angelico

Type
Extent / Format

522 pages / 47.5 x 35.3 cm

Origin
Date
1424-1430
Style
Genre
Language
Artist / School

Beato Angelico and Zanobi Strozzi

Short description

The so-called Missal of Fra Angelico presents the illumination of the quattrocento in Florence in outstanding quality: from the hand of the main representative of the early Florentine Renaissance, Fra Angelico, and his most gifted student, Zanobi Strozzi. The liturgical chants for the feasts of various saints are illustrated in numerous outstanding miniatures. They are focused on Saint Dominic, the patron of the manuscript’s destination: the Convent of San Domenico in Fiesole, in which the Dominican monk Fra Angelico lived after 1420.

Facsimile editions available

Description

Beato Angelico's Missal

The so-called Missal of Fra Angelico presents the illumination of the Florentine Quattrocento in outstanding quality: from the hand of the main representative of the early Florentine Renaissance, Fra Angelico, and his most gifted student, Zanobi Strozzi. Liturgical hymns for the various saints’ holidays were illustrated in numerous outstanding miniatures. The focus lay thereby on St. Dominic, the patron saint of the manuscript’s intended destination: the Convent of San Domenico in Fiesole, wherein the Dominican Monk lived from 1420 onward.

The Leading Master of the Early Florentine Renaissance

Fra Angelico (before 1400-1455), also known as Beato Angelico in Italian, is one of the big names of Italian Renaissance painting. He entered the Dominican Order as Giovanni da Fiesole. From 1420 onward, we was active in the Dominican Convent of San Domenico in Fiesole, and later in the Covent of San Marco in Florence. There, Fra Angelico decorated the walls of the cloister and other rooms with grandiose paintings. Additionally, he was also active as an illuminator, several manuscripts from his hand have survived. One of which is the gorgeous missal from the Convent of San Domenico in Fiesole, originating in the years 1424-1430.

The Gifted Student

40 miniatures in the manuscript came from Fra Angelico, eleven more from Zanobi Strozzi, a student of the painting Dominican monk. Zanobi Strozzi (1412-1468) originated from the genteel Florentine Strozzi family, producing both panel paintings and miniatures and was active as an artist for the Medici inter alia. He was identified by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects as Fra Angelico’s most talented student.

Remarkable Composition

The miniatures in Beato Angelico’s Missal give a wonderful overview of Florentine illumination at the beginning of the Quattrocento. The grandiose play with form and space characterizes the compositions and indicates the masterfulness of the painter. The paintings illustrate the hymns for the feast days of various saints. Saint Dominic – patron saint of the convent – is surrounded by musical angels, and is depicted in an exceedingly colorful scene. Fantastical flowers, vines, and similar, lavish ornamentation adorn the manuscript alongside depictions of the saints in large initials. As a synthesis of the arts, the missal is presented in exuberant luster and in the full glory of the fantastic art of the early Florentine Renaissance!

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