Title: Beato Fra Angelico: Patron of Artists
Categories: Holy Men and Boys , Dominican
Icon Number: BPOA126
On June 23, 1983, Pope John Paul II granted official cultus to Fra Angelico, who is now a Blessed with an office, a mass and obligatory memory (and now Patron of Artists). Fra Angelico, baptized Guido di Pietro, was born around 1400 in Vicchio, a Tuscan town near Florence. At the age of twenty, he entered the Dominican Order at the priory of San Domenico in Fiesole. He died in Rome on February 18, 1455 and is buried in Santa Maria sopra Minerva where his tomb remains an object of veneration. Was this remarkable priest a painter of the Middle Ages or the Renaissance? The answer varies with the preconceptions of the critics, many of whom consider him a painter of transition since he immortalizes in color the genius of Aquinas and Dante as well as that of Raphael and Leonardo.
John Rubba, O.P. Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico has many names: Fra Giovanni da Fiesole, Fra Giovanni da Firenze, Guido di Pietro in secular life, "Angelico", which became attached to him as an official nickname after his death and could not be more appropriate (since never before or after has an art been more angel-like in its happiness and purity), unless the even later nickname "Beato" surpasses it in its combined suggestions of saintliness and a state of blessedness in life. Fra Angelico's life, by every evidence, ran its course without a question, without a doubt, in uninterrupted service to God in the exercise of a God-given talent. Fra Angelico managed, as if without trying, to simplify the sometimes rather fussy pageantry of late medieval painting without thinning it - he weeded it and gave it room to grow - and to unite heavenly sweetness with earthly truth as if any question as to their identity were ridiculous. Because of his gentleness, Fra Angelico is often underestimated as an artist even by his admirers, who tend to settle for his sweetness without recognizing his strength. Fra Angelico reconciled revolution and tradition by reconciling Masaccio's realism - the projection of figures in light and space on a monumental scale - with the essentially miniature technique of late medievalists such as his probable teacher, Lorenzo Monaco.
John Canady The Lives of the Painters