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San Marco Altarpiece, Oil by Fra Angelico (1395-1455, Italy)
The San Marco Altarpiece (also known as Madonna and Saints) is a painting by the Italian early Renaissance painter Fra Angelico, housed in the San Marco Museum of Florence, Italy. It was commissioned by Cosimo de' Medici the Elder, and was completed sometime between 1438 and 1443. In addition to the main panel depicting the enthroned Virgin and Child surrounded by Angels and Saints, there were 9 predella panels accompanying it, narrating the legend of the patron saints, Saints Cosmas and Damian. Only the main panel and two predella panels actually remain in the Convent of San Marco, Florence, Italy today. The San Marco Altarpiece is known as one of the best early Renaissance paintings for its employment of metaphor and perspective, Trompe l'oeil, and the intertwining of Dominican religious themes and symbols with contemporary, political messages.