Looking Down

Another delight from Fra Angelico. This is one of the frescoes he painted in one of the monk's cells at San Marco, a scene of the empty tomb. Here Mary Magdalene (presumably) seems to shade her eyes as she looks down into the empty [anachronistic] coffin. The ladies on the right (especially the last one) who carry the spice jars meant to anoint Jesus' body frown as the angel points toward the risen Christ appearing behind them (at which they are not looking, being understandably preoccupied with the spectacle before them). These three ladies were actually painted by Fra Angelico's apprentice, Benozzo Gozzoli.

I love the angel's wings, all spotty. Just below the angel we see St. Dominic, who often appears in these paintings, meditating on them. It was not unusual to place the saints in scenes that they of course could not have actually attended. St. Dominic (Fra Angelico was a Dominican) shows up in many of these scenes.