Seeing Christ in Florence

The frescoes I cared for most in all Florence were the few of Fra Angelico’s that a donna was allowed to see in the Convent of San Marco. In the Chapterhouse, now used as a guard-room, is a large Crucifixion, with the inimitable group of the fainting mother, upheld by St John and the younger Mary, and clasped round by the kneeling Magdalene. The group of adoring, sorrowing saints on the right hand are admirable for earnest truthfulness of representation. The Christ in this fresco is not good, but there is a deeply impressive original crucified Christ outside in the cloisters: St Dominic is clasping the cross, and looking upward at the agonised Saviour, whose real, pale, calmly enduring face is quite unlike any other Christ I have seen.