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Fra Angelico

Giovanni da Fiesole (Vicchio di Mugello (Florence) 1395 c. - Rome 1455), better known in the English-speaking world as Fra Angelico ("the Angelic Friar"), or in Continental Europe as Beato Angelico ("the Blessed Angelico") was an early Florentine Renaissance artist. His life was described in Giorgio Vasari's "Vite".

Saint Lawrence receives
the treasures of the Church

Painted 1447.

He was born in Vicchio, in Tuscany, towards the end of the 14th century and was baptized Guido or Guidolino (friars use to change their name when entering the orders). Still a young boy he asked for admittance at the convent of San Domenico in Fiesole, where Dominican friars were known for their rigid rules (and were called "the Observers"). He completed his novitiate in Cortona in 1408 and became a real friar in Fiesole with the name of "Fra Giovanni da Fiesole".

He had several important charges in the convents he lived in, but this didn't limit his art, that very soon became famous.

He was a patron of Cosimo de' Medici.

Among his early works, the Annunciation of Cortona, the Incoronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (in the convent of Fiesole); the Deposition of Christ executed for the church of the Holy Trinity in Florence, paintings that Vasari indicated as "painted by a saint or an angel".

In the convent of San Marco, in the years 1438-1445, Fra Giovanni lived with St. Antoninus Pierozzi, Prior of the convent and later Archbishop of Florence. Here he decorated the cells, the hall of the Chapter, the corridors, the colonnade, the church altarpiece. After the success of these works he was called to Rome, to paint some chapels in the Vatican.

Renaissance painter and friar of the Dominican Order. Fra Angelico decorated many of the rooms of the Dominican convent of San Marco in Florence, including many of the individual cells.

He used to say "He who does Christ's work must stay with Christ always". This motto granted the epithet "Blessed Angelico", "because of the perfect integrity of his life and the almost divine beauty of the images he painted, to a superlative extent those of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Pope John Paul II, 1982)".

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