The beautiful Michelozzo Library at the Museum of San Marco in Florence has reopened.
This Renaissance architectural gem, commissioned by Cosimo de’ Medici in the 15th century as part of the Dominican complex of San Marco, underwent a one-year renovation process that allowed for the restoration of the original design of the floor.
“The Library of San Marco is one of those places where the very meaning of Humanism is contained: an intimate and pure space, a space dedicated to preservation and study, to concentration and calm,” said Interim Superintendent for the Museums of Florence, Alessandra Marini.
Under the reign of Lorenzo il Magnifico, the library became one of the favorite meeting points for Florentine humanists such as Poliziano and Pico della Mirandola, who could easily consult texts there in Latin and Greek. San Marco is also famous as the seat of Girolamo Savonarola’s speeches during his short spiritual rule in Florence in the late 15th century.
The former convent, now the museum, houses a major collection of works by one of the great artists of the Renaissance, painter Fra Angelico, who lived in the convent during the 15th century. Panel paintings include the Deposition executed for Palla Strozzi, the San Marco Altarpiece commissioned by the Medici in 1440, and a Tabernacle of the Linaioli (1433–1435), whose frame was designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti. There are also a great number of small frescoes by Angelico and his assistants in the monastic cells and a number of larger frescoes including the Annunciation.
Greater visual prominence has been given to two panels painted by Zanobi Strozzi – the School of St. Thomas Aquinas and the School of Blessed Alberto Magno. Panels illustrating the story of the library were also added.
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