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If the spirit of the early Renaissance fascinates you, if the frescoes of Blessed Fra Angelico, the heavenly patron of all artists, make you remember forgotten prayers, and the spirit of the rebellious Girolamo Savonarola excites your imagination - you should go to the San Marco Museum in Florence.
By its status, this museum is a functioning Dominican monastery. For monks of the Order of St. Dominic, a museum is another way of preaching the Word of God. Therefore, entrance tickets are very inexpensive, and the exposition is extensive and rich in masterpieces.
The largest collection of works by Fra Angelico is here, because the author himself was a monk and inhabitant of this monastery. Frescoes, among which there are works that make up the pride of the entire Quattrocento era, are the main components of the exhibition.
Particular attention should be paid to the Annunciation, located in the corridor of the museum. A strange sensation arises: on the one hand, the influence of medieval canons is still strong, on the other, the work in front of the viewer is filled with deep humanism, radiating the light of hope and joy, with modesty of colors and colors.
A painting with the same plot, written in tempera paints, as if belongs to a brush of another artist. Now we are faced with the work of a modern artist-modernist. A bold colorful gamut makes up the wings of an Angel, the arrangement of figures, angles - everything breathes, lives, moves. On the other hand, brilliant simplicity, love for people and a sense of harmony remain unchanged.
In addition to the works of Blessed Fra Angelico, here are the works of Gozzoli, who loved to portray his patrons of the Medici in the form of biblical characters, Ghirlandaio, one of the first mentors of Buonarotti, Fra Bartolomeo, a friend and colleague of the genius Raphael, as well as many others.
Most of the museum is a collection of manuscripts and folios. The library was opened here in the 14th century and consisted of the collection of Coluccio Salutati, who is considered the third author of the Renaissance, after Bocaccio and Petrarch. Leonardo da Vinci, Pico Della Mirandola, and Michelangelo visited the library.
You should not miss the opportunity to visit the fully preserved cell of one of the abbots of the monastery, which was once the founder of the Florentine Republic, Girolamo Savonarola himself. This frantic preacher sought from thief traders the return of property stolen from the townspeople by the power of his word, he terrified not only the Medici family, but also the popes. The portrait of Savonarola, the brush of his ardent supporter Fra Bartolomeo, is stored here in the mentor’s cell.
Entrance ticket will cost 4 euros. Impressions will remain for life. Ideal if you are lucky enough to walk around the museum not accompanied by a guide, but by asking one of the monks for such a service. Dominicans are willing to make contact, many speak English, but they won’t take money. With such a guide you will definitely not be bored!