Thursday, 19 January 2017

Fra Angelico 1/12

Fra Angelico was beatified by the Pope and his feast day is 18 February so on the 18th of each month in 2017 I'll post a photo of a Fra Angelico painting. So, for Fra Angelico 1/12 I thought I'd post the predella paintings that are in the National Gallery in London and free for anyone to see. 

The predella is the series of often narrative paintings that go below the main altarpiece painting and in this case there are five small paintings showing Christ glorified in the court of Heaven. This is a special predella since it comes from the altarpiece in Fra Angelico's own church attached to his monastery just outside Fiesole near Florence. Christ is flying the flag of the Resurrection not the flag of St George (it was appropriated at a later date).

The painting I like best is the second from the right in the series which depicts the forerunners of Christ (the prophets) with saints and martyrs. It's the most colourful and most populous of the five panels. I'm particularly taken with Moses left of centre in the top row with his little hat and his two tablets of stone and he's the only one who looks out of the painting at the viewer. 
About 80% of the figures have been identified by their signs and tokens in the National Gallery catalogue of Quattrocento Italian paintings. I hope someone completes that task one day.

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