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Fra Angelico Paintings Missing for 100 Years Found Behind a Door

Fra Angelico paintings found

2 of 9 Predella panels
San Marco Altarpiece, ca. 1438
Fra Angelico

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Imagine the surprise of art experts when two paintings by Italian Renaissance master Fra Angelico were found in November, 2006 behind a door in an apartment in Oxford, England. Fra Angelico (c. 1400-55) was a Dominican friar in the city of Florence. The paintings of Fra Angelico were influential in the artistic development of many Italian painters who followed him, most notably Masaccio.

The Fra Angelico paintings found were part of the famous San Marco Altarpiece. The church of San Marco was a Medici-sponsored church, and Fra Angelico executed these paintings ca. 1438. These panel paintings disappeared after the altarpiece was disassembled for cleaning during the Napoleonic wars. These two Fra Angelico paintings were among nine total which were part of the predella, an area found at the base of an altarpiece. Fra Angelico's main panel for the San Marco Altarpiece can still be found at San Marco in Florence today.

Brenda Harness, Art Historian

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