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ANGELICO, Fra (b. cca. 1400, Vicchio nell Mugello, d. 1455, Roma)/ARTISTS BEFORE 1650/ MAIN ART

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Fra Angelico was an Italian painter of the early Renaissance who combined the life of a devout friar with that of an accomplished painter. He was called Angelico (Italian for “angelic”) and Beato (Italian for “blessed”) because the paintings he did were of calm, religious subjects and because of his extraordinary personal piety.

Originally named Guido di Pietro, Angelico was born in Vicchio, Tuscany. He entered a Dominican convent in Fiesole in 1418 and became a friar using the name Giovanni da Fiesole. Although his teacher is unknown, he apparently began his career as an illuminator of missals and other religious books. He began to paint altarpieces and other panels; among his important early works are the Madonna of the Star (1428?-1433, San Marco, Florence) and Christ in Glory Surrounded by Saints and Angels (National Gallery, London), which depicts more than 250 distinct figures. Among other works of that period are two of the Coronation of the Virgin (San Marco and Louvre, Paris) and The Deposition and The Last Judgment (San Marco). His mature style is first seen in the Madonna of the Linen Weavers (1433, San Marco), which features a border with 12 music-making angels.

From 1449 to 1452 Angelico was prior of his convent in Fiesole. He died in the Dominican convent in Rome on March 18, 1455.

Angelico combined the influence of the elegantly decorative Gothic style of Gentile da Fabriano with the more realistic style of such Renaissance masters as the painter Masaccio and the sculptors Donatello and Ghiberti, all of whom worked in Florence. Angelico was also aware of the theories of perspective proposed by Leon Battista Alberti. Angelico's representation of devout facial expressions and his use of colour to heighten emotion are particularly effective. His skill in creating monumental figures, representing motion, and suggesting deep space through the use of linear perspective, especially in the Roman frescoes, mark him as one of the foremost painters of the Renaissance.

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Fra Angelico -amazon.co.uk

La Vie secrète de Fra Angelico -amazon.fr

A Tale of Two Pilgrims

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St Lawrence Distributes Food to the Poor  
 
 
 

St Lawrence Distributes Food to the Poor

1447-50
Fresco, 271 x 205 cm
Cappella Niccolina, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

This fresco was erroneously attributed to Benozzo Gozzoli. However, it is a work by Fra Angelico with co-workers.