San Pietro Martire Triptych Fra Angelico Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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When admiring the beauty of this painting it seems unbelievable that the San Pietro Martire Triptych is actually the first documented painting from the career of Fra Angelico.

The work is dated at circa 1428–1429 and although early in his career, it displays two or three of his signature touches that would remain constant throughout his career. Firstly, there is the aggressive use of gold to the background elements of the scene, and secondly his technique for figurative, full length portraits was already established. The tone of blue which remained through his entire oeuvre is apparent here but perhaps not reflected in the image served here which slightly darkens the tones of the original painting.

By a considerable distance, the best place to visit for examples of Fra Angelico's paintings would have to be the Museo di San Marco in Florence. There is an almost endless list of his work in their collection and within that you will find this San Pietro Martire triptych. It is perhaps rare for someone from the Early Renaissance to have so much of their work in one single venue but it is perhaps an advantage for followers of his work.

Most of the documentation that remains from his career is actually contracts signed by the artist for various commissions. Whilst not particularly exciting items by themselves, they have provided invaluable information about his career, such as who commissioned his paintings and when, plus also the levels of payments that he received for each piece. In some cases they might also make mention of his assistants that would give a further clue as to the creator of elements of each painting.