Monday, July 23, 2007
Fra Angelico (1400-1455)
He who does Christ's work must stay with Christ always.
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Giovanni da Fiesole (Vicchio di Mugello (Firenze) 1395 c. - Rome 1455), better known in english-speaking world as Fra Angelico ("the Angelic Friar"), or in Europe as Beato Angelico ("the Blessed Angelico") was an early Florentine?Renaissance artist. He was born in Vicchio, in Tuscany, towards the end of the XIVth century and was baptized Guido or Guidolino (friars change their name when entering the orders). Still a young boy he asked for admittance at the convent of San Domenico in Fiesole, where Dominican friars were known by their rigid rules (and were called "the Observers"). He completed his novitiate in Cortona in 1408 and became a real friar in Fiesole with the name of "Fra Giovanni da Fiesole". He had several important charges in the convents he lived in, but this did't limit his art, that very soon became famous. Among his early works, the Annunciation of Cortona, the Incoronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (in the convent of Fiesole); the Deposition of Christ executed for the church of the Holy Trinity in Florence, paintings that Vasari indicated as "painted by a saint or an angel".
In the convent of San Marco, in the years 1438-1445, Fra Giovanni lived with St. Antoninus Pierozzi, Prior of the convent and later Archbishop of Florence. Here he decorated the cells, the hall of the Chapter, the corridors, the colonnade, the church altarpiece. After the success of these works he was called to Rome, to paint some chapels in Vatican. Fra Angelico decorated many of the rooms of the Dominican convent of San Marco in Florence, including many of the individual cells. He used to say "He who does Christ's work must stay with Christ always". This motto granted the epithet "Blessed Angelico", "because of the perfect integrity of his life and the almost divine beauty of the images he painted, to a superlative extent those of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Pope John Paul II, 1982)". [This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Fra Angelico.]
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