San Marco monastery, Florence


San Marco monastery, Florence
   Originally occupied by the Sylvestrine Order, in 1436 these monks were expelled and the San Marco Monastery was turned over to the Dominicans. In the late 1430s, Cosimo de' Medici, who favored the order, provided funding for its renovation, giving the commission to Michelozzo. The most successful room in Michelozzo's design is the library, the first built in the Renaissance. Here the architect utilized a Brunelleschian vocabulary that includes a repetition of arches and columns to establish a rhythmic pattern and corbels, elements also found in Brunelleschi's Ospedale degli Innocenti, Florence (1419— 1424). The flat roof in the central space, groin vaults for the aisles, and stuccoed walls trimmed inpietra serena are also Brunelleschian. Once completed, Cosimo donated over 400 Greek and Latin manuscripts to the library, making it into one of the most notable early public libraries of Italy. San Marco also boasts some of the most splendid frescoes of the Early Renaissance. Fra Angelico, who resided in the monastery, painted scenes in the cells and corridors between 1438 and 1445 to inspire meditation and prayer. Also financed by Cosimo, the subject of these works is believed to have been dictated by St. Antonine Pierozzi, the prior of San Marco. Among the most notable of these frescoes are the Annunciation, Coronation, Transfiguration, Mocking of Christ, Resurrection and Women at the Tomb, and Noli me tangere.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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