Fra Angelico (Dictionary of World Biography: Renaissance)
Article abstract: Fra Angelico is best known for adapting the most advanced artistic techniques of his time (perspective and brilliant use of color and line) to extraordinary evocations of purely spiritual subjects.
Not much is known about Fra Angelico’s early life. His baptismal name was Guido or Guidolino di Pietro, but he was also named Giovanni da Fiesole. Il Beato Fra Giovanni Angelico is the name he was given after his death, even though he was never actually beatified. He was apparently an extremely devout man who, in or about 1425, took his vows in the Dominican Order. The first painting of his that can be confidently dated is theMadonna Linaivoli Altarpiece (1433), which is in St. Mark’s Convent in Florence, Italy. It is speculated that he began painting perhaps ten years earlier, working on small pictures and miniatures, such as Saint Jerome Penitent, which is in the collection of Princeton University.
As Giulio Carlo Argon puts it, Fra Angelico was a man of “saintly habits, a learned and zealous friar.” He seems to have turned to art not only as a way of glorifying God but also as a way of demonstrating the sacred contents of His world. This meant painting angels and holy figures in vivid color and specific detail; there is nothing abstract or stilted about Fra Angelico’s human and divine figures. They are a recognizable part of the viewer’s world, set off...
(The entire section is 1988 words.)
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