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Angelico, Fra (ca.1400 - 1455)
Cappella Niccolina (Scenes from the Lives of Sts Lawrence and Stephen)Date: 1447-49
Museum: Palace of the Vatican
Location: Vatican City, Italy
Under the pontificate of Nicholas V (1447-55) the Vatican became a court of the muses. The pope chief interest in the realm of arts was the embellishment of Rome. Fra Angelico took up his work in the Vatican for painting the pope's private chapel. The Cappella Niccolina is on the second floor of the Palazzo Vaticano (now part of the Vatican Museums). Three walls are covered with frescoes representing scenes from the lives of St Stephen and St Lawrence, two archdeacons who had been widely venerated in Rome since the early Middle Ages. The fresco on the altar wall (the south wall) had been destroyed. According to Vasari, this wall was adorned with an Entombment of Christ by Fra Angelico.
Fra Angelico was able to accomplish this considerable amount of work only with the assistance of a large workshop. In addition to Benozzo Gozzoli we know the names of other collaborators, although it is impossible to identify their individual contributions. Stylistic analysis has determined that the scenes from the life of St Lawrence were largely the work of Fra Angelico, while there was a greater contribution of the workshop, especially Benozzo Gozzoli, to the execution of the scenes in the lunettes.
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