The Annunciation by Fra Angelico at San Marco
a cooperation between the Museo di San Marco in Florence
and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Tokyo
edited by Marilena Tamassia
This book is the culmination of a meeting and collaboration between different worlds: the Museum of San Marco, now part of the Polo Museale della Toscana; the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Japan (NICT); the “Nello Carrara” Institute of Applied Physics (IFAC-CNR) and the Institute for Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment (IREA-CNR). These different organisations and institutions came together for Fra Angelico’s fresco of the Annunciation, painted in the north corridor of the former Dominican convent now part of the Museum of San Marco, and carried out a meticulous photographic project and scientific analyses never before undertaken on this masterpiece.
Sophisticated non-invasive techniques were used to make analyses and take digital images of Fra Angelico’s work of art. The first emotions that rise to the heart and mind when we draw closer to a work of art like Fra Angelico’s Annunciation are amazement and wonder; it can even be defined as the ultimate work of art, timeless and unparalleled. This is the opening view in the essay written by Marilena Tamassia, Director of the Museum of San Marco. After the initial impact that the fresco has on the people who see it, some feel the need to examine the reasons for this admiration, hence the research project detailed in this book, which explains the unconditional awe that the fresco excites from different points of view.
The project follows the conventional and proven practice of applied scientific analysis on the study of works of art, and starts from a precise and well-documented interpretation of the fresco that looks at all the elements of the painting as well as their interconnecting relationship as a whole and in detail, taking into account the context in which they are placed.
Almost spontaneously, the analysis moves towards the notion of the space Fra Angelico creates and underlines his skill in using the laws of perspective, especially regarding its contextual use oriented towards adoration and prayer.
This brings us to the artistic and spiritual message of the work: the theme of the Annunciation, which Fra Angelico used several times during his career, and which is one of the main themes in art history, embodying the spirituality of the religious community of Dominican friars and all Christians.
The contextualisation of the physical space of the Dominican convent is a prelude to observations on the relationship between the Annunciation and the extensive series of frescos by Fra Angelico in the convent’s cells and corridors, which the artist painted for a unique audience of friars.
The application of these new research tools has allowed us to take steps towards better knowledge and appreciation of the Annunciation thanks to the collaborative effort of prestigious institutions from all over the world, united by their common interest in exchanging knowledge and experience.
- Edited by:
- Marilena Tamassia
- Edition (cm):
- 100 ill. a colori e in b/n
- filo refe
- Quaderni del Museo di San Marco