The San Marco Museum is housed in the Dominican monastery of San Marco, built between 1438 and 1444 by will of Cosimo the Elder of the Medici family, on a design by the architect Michelozzo, who created an architectural masterpiece of functionality, harmony and elegance.
The monastery, and the adjoining Library, once housing Greek and Latin books, was one of the most important centres of the Florentine Humanism, but its fame is mainly due to the splendid cycle of frescoes painted within 1450 by the painter-monk Fra Angelico, one of the greatest masters of the Florentine Renaissance.
Head of the monastery at the end of the 15th C. was Girolamo Savonarola, great preacher who inspired the Florentine Republic, then condemned as a heretic and executed on Piazza Signoria in 1498.
The State Museum was opened in 1869.
The rooms of the monastery are located all around the Renaissance cloister by Michelozzo, on the ground and on the upper floor. The biggest collection of panel-paintings by Fra Angelico in the world has been displayed in the Hospice Hall (Sala dell’Ospizio) since the early 20th C. The section by the Large Refectory was arranged much later (1980-90) in order to house paintings by Fra Bartolomeo and the artists of the San Marco School. The Last Supper frescoed in 1480 by Domenico Ghirlandaio decorates the Small Refectory. The big cycle of frescoes by Fra Angelico, remarkable example of contemplative art, starts in the cloister and in the Chapter House, but it is fully displayed on the upper floor, along the corridors and inside the cells of the dormitory. On the same upper floor the harmonious Library by Michelozzo houses a great collection of 15th C. illuminated books. At the far end of the dormitory, the cells once belonged to Savonarola show memories of his life and of his tragic death.
Panel-paintings by Fra Angelico, in the Hospice Hall: Deposition of Christ, from Santa Trinita, Triptych of St. Peter the Martyr, the Annalena Altarpiece, the San Marco Altarpiece, the Last Judgement and the Linen-Drapers Tabernacle.
Frescoes by Fra Angelico: in the Cloister, St. Dominic at the feet of the Cross; in the Chapter House, Crucifixion; along the corridors of the Dormitory, Annunciation and Madonna of the Shadows; in the cells, Noli Me Tangere, Annunciation, The Mocking of Christ, Transfiguration; in the cell of Cosimo the Elder, Adoration of the Magi, painted by Benozzo Gozzoli, one of Fra Angelico’s assistants.
Tuesday to Friday - 8.15 to 13.50
Saturday and Public Holidays - 8.15 to 18.50
2° and 4° Sunday of each month - 8.15 to 19.00
1°, 3°, 5° Monday of each month - 8.15 to 13.50
1°, 3°, 5° Sunday of each month 2°, 4° Monday of each month, 25 December, 1 January, 1 May
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