Excerpt: ...of Fra Giovanni da Fiesole, the painter, whose Life we
have written. This painting was executed wholly in fresco, both by
Fra Bartolommeo and by Mariotto, so that it has remained, and still
remains, marvellously fresh, and is held in esteem by craftsmen,
since it is scarcely possible to do better in that kind of work.
THE HOLY FAMILY (After the panel by Fra Bartolommeo di San Marco.
Rome: Corsini Gallery, 579) Anderson View larger image Pg 155 When
Fra Bartolommeo had been many months in Prato, he was sent by his
superiors to take up his abode in S. Marco at Florence, and on
account of his virtues he was received very warmly by the friars of
that convent. In those days Bernardo del Bianco had caused to be
erected, in the Badia of Florence, a chapel of grey-stone, full of
carving, and very rich and beautiful, from the design of Benedetto
da Rovezzano: which chapel was and still is much esteemed on
account of some ornamental work of great variety, wherein Benedetto
Buglioni placed, in some niches, angels and other figures made of
glazed terra-cotta, in the round, to adorn it the more, with
friezes containing cherubs and the devices of Bianco. And Bernardo,
wishing to set up in the chapel a panel-picture that should be
worthy of that adornment, and conceiving the idea that Fra
Bartolommeo would be the right man for the work, sought in every
possible way, through the intervention of his friends, to persuade
him. Fra Bartolommeo was living in his convent, giving his
attention to nothing save the divine offices and the duties of his
Rule, although often besought by the Prior and by his dearest
friends that he should work again at his painting; and for more
than four years he had refused to touch a brush. But on this
occasion, being pressed by Bernardo del Bianco, at length he began
the panel-picture of S. Bernard, in which the Saint is writing, and
gazing with such deep contemplation at the Madonna, with the Child
in her arms, being borne by many angels...
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