You are here

Fra Angelico

Born 1395, Tuscany, Italy.
Died 1455, Rome, Italy.

«Florentine painter, a Dominican friar. Although in popular tradition he has been seen as 'not an artist properly so-called but an inspired saint' (Ruskin), Angelico was in fact a highly professional artist, who was in touch with the most advanced developments in contemporary Florentine art and in later life travelled extensively for prestigious commissions. He probably began his career as a manuscript illuminator, and his early paintings are strongly influenced by International Gothic. But even in the most lavishly decorative of them all - the Annunciation in the Diocesan Museum in Cortona - Masaccio's incluence is evident in the insistent perspective of the architecture. For most of his career Angelico was based in S. Domenico in Fiesole (he became Prior there in 1450), but his most famous works were painted at S. Marco in Florence (now an Angelico museum), a Sylvestrine monastry which was taken over by his Order in 1436. He and his assistants painted about fifty frescos in the friary (c.1438-45) that are at once the expression of and a guide to the spiritual life of the community. Many of the frescos are in the friars' cells and were intended as aids to devotion; with their immaculate coloring, their economy in drawing and composition, and their freedom from the accidents of time and place, they attain a sense of blissful serenity.»