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Fra Angelico


Florentine Painter and Illuminator of The Early Renaissance

Influences - Giotto di Bondone,  Paolo Uccello, Domenico Veneziano

Cause of Death - leprosy

Fra Angelico Paintings  (click to enlarge)

Fra Angelico was a Dominican friar as well as one of the greatest Early Renaissance painters. He was drawn to art and God from a young age and could have lived his life as privileged gentleman but chose to live a life of piety and devotion. Author Clara Erskine Clement, states "Before he was fully twenty years old, he entered the convent at Fiesole, and took the name of Fra, or Brother Giovanni; soon after, his elder brother joined him there, and became Fra Benedetto. Later on our artist was called Fra Angelico, and again Il Beato Angelico, and then, according to Italian custom, the name of the town from which he came was added, so that he was at last called Il Beato Giovanni, detto Angelico, da Fiesole, which means, “The Blessed John, called the Angelic, of Fiesole.” The title Il Beato is usually conferred by the church, but it was given to Fra Angelico by the people, because of his saintly character and works."

He lived his life according to a strict religious faith. Rising at daybreak and breakfasting on cold porridge and sour milk, he often worked twelve hours a day on his masterpieces. In the evening he would sup on watered down stew and spend hours kneeling in payer, praying for Gods divine artistic  inspiration.

Fra Angelico's life was completely dedicated to painting and the church. According to Medieval historian, Julia De Wolf Addison, "Religious feeling in works of art is an almost indefinable thing, but one which is felt in all true emanations of the conscientious spirit of devotion. Fra Angelico had a special gift for expressing in his artistic creations is own spiritual life; the very qualities for which he stood, his virtues and his errors, purity, unquestioning faith in the miraculous, narrowness of creed, and gentle and adoring humility, all these elements are seen to completeness in his decorative pictures. Perhaps this is because he really lived up to his principles. One of his favorite sayings was "He who occupies himself with the things of Christ, must ever dwell with Christ."


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