Rome (plus Orvieto, Fiesole, Florence) (1445-1455)


In or about 1445 he was invited by the pope to Rome.

[(The pope who reigned from 1431 to 1447 was Eugenius IV, and he it was who in 1445 appointed another Dominican friar, a colleague of Angelico, to be archbishop of Florence.)

[If the story (first told by Vasari) is true -- that this appointment was made at the suggestion of Angelico only after the archbishopric had been offered to himself, and by him declined on the ground of his inaptitude for so elevated and responsible a station -- Eugenius, and not (as stated by Vasari) his successor Nicholas V, must have been the pope who sent the invitation and made the offer to Fra Giovanni, for Nicholas only succeeded in 1447. The whole statement lacks authentication, though in itself credible enough. ]

Certain it is that Angelico was staying in Rome in the first half of 1447; and he painted in the Vatican the Cappella del Sacramento, which was afterwards demolished by Pope Paul III.

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In June 1447 he proceeded to Orvieto, to paint in the Cappella Nuova of the cathedral, with the cooperation of his pupil Benozzo Gozzoli.

In Orvieto cathedral he painted three triangular divisions of the ceiling, portraying respectively Christ in a glory of angels, sixteen saints and prophets, and the virgin and apostles: all these are now much repainted and damaged. 

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1447:  Nicholas becomes pope. 

He afterwards returned to Rome to paint the chapel of Nicholas V.


In Rome, in the Chapel of Nicholas V, the acts of Saints Stephen and Lawrence; also various figures of saints, and on the ceiling the four evangelists. These works of the painter's advanced age, which have suffered somewhat from restorations, show vigor superior to that of his youth, along with a more adequate treatment of the architectural perspectives.

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From perhaps 1449 until about 1452, Fra Angelico was back at his old convent of Fiesole, where he was the Prior.

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According to Kanter book: 

LAST DECADE:  Rome; Orvieto; Fiesole; Florence

Post-Niccoline ChapeL

1446-48:  Ashmolean triptych

c. 1447-50: Pentecost, Last Judgment, Ascension

1448-52:  Armadio

Christ on Cross (Fogg) (?) 

Bern Madonna and Child

c. 1449-51:  Bosco ai Frati Altarpiece

c. 1453:  Annalena Altarpiece

[Then: return to Rome?


1447:  Orvieto

Niccoline Chapel

MSM, first (2nd) floor, corridor:  

    Annunciation (MSM)
    Madonna delle Ombre (MSM) 

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14:  Rome:   In 1445 the Pope (Eugenius IV) summoned Fra Giovanni  to Rome to paint the frescoes of a chapel at St Peter's.  The work was completed by no longer exists.  (Chapel of the Sacrament)   

15:  Orvieto:  
In 1447 Fra Angelico was in Orvieto with his pupil, Benozzo Gozzoli, executing works for the Cathedral. 

16:  Rome:  From 1447 to 1449 he was back at the Vatican, designing the frescoes for the Niccoline Chapel for Nicholas V. The scenes from the lives of the two martyred deacons of the Early Christian Church, St. Stephen and St. Lawrence may have been executed wholly or in part by assistants. The small chapel, with its brightly frescoed walls and gold leaf decorations gives the impression of a jewel box.