Art e-facts
Did you know . . .?
. . . Paul Cezanne painted more than 200 still-life compositions in his lifetime?

. . . the first pigments used in painting were ground from earth, minerals and organic matter?

    Fra Angelico (Guido di Pietro) (? - 1455)
    Early Renaissance
Fra Angelico was one of the most celebrated artists of the early Renaissance. A Dominican monk, based in Florence, all his art was religious. Though nothing is known of his training he appeared to clearly understand the innovations of Masaccio. This is evident in an early painting, Annunciation (Cortona, Diocesan Museum), probably dating from the late I420s, where the architecture of the loggia, which has a single vanishing point.

The Coronation of the Virgin was painted in the 1430s for his own convent at San Domenico in Fiesole. It shows a clarity of colour in the Gothic tradition.

An understanding of Masaccio's frescoes is displayed in Crucifixion with St. Dominic. The simple humanity of Christ, in extremis, with his head sunk is reminiscent of Masaccio's alterpiece at Pisa.

In 1438 Angelico and his assistants began his greatest work, the decoration of his monastery in Florence, now a superb museum dedicated to his work. In scenes intended for meditation (many are in the monks' cells) he achieved a sense of blissful, radiant simplicity and great emotional directness.

Fra Angelico was famous for his piety, but was far from being the 'inspired saint' of popular legend. He was a highly professional artist who travelled widely to take up commissions. In 1445 he was summoned to Rome, where he spent most of the rest of his career working on papal commissions in the Vatican and Old St Peter's. Essentially, however, his reputation and popularity, is due to his frescos at San Domenico.

The name Angelico was being used of him soon after his death, but it is not known when "the blessed Angelico" was beatified, or even if the title was ever official.

Gowing, L. (1987) Paintings in the Louvre. New York, U.S.A.: Stewart, Tabor & Chang.
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Laclotte, M. and Cuzin, J-P. (1993) The Louvre: European Paintings. London: Scala Publications Ltd.

Piper, D. (1981). The Dictionary of Painting & Sculpture, Art & Artists, Painters & Sculptors, Terms & Techniques. London: Mitchell Beazley Publishers.

Roettgen, S (1996) Italian Frescoes: The Early Renaissance (1400 - 1470). New York, U.S.A.: Abbeyville Press.
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