Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fra Angelico - Feast Day February 18

The Coronation of Our Lady by Fra Angelico

Not much is known about Fra Angelico's early life. We know he was born around 1400 and was named Guido di Pietro. Around 1418 he and his brother Benedetto took vows to become Dominican friars in Fiesole, Italy. Fra Angelico's religious name was Fra Giovanni da Fiesole. The titles Fra Angelico and Beato Angelico came into use only after his death, as a way of honoring his religious life and work.

He began his career as an illuminator of missals and religious books.
In 1436 some of the Dominican friars of Fiesole moved to the convent of San Marco in Florence. Angelico painted many frescoes for the cloister, chapter house, and entrances to the 20 cells on the upper corridors.
In 1445 Angelico was summoned to Rome by Pope Eugenius IV to paint frescoes for the now destroyed Chapel of the Sacrament in the Vatican.
Angelico died in Rome and was buried in the church of S. Maria sopra Minerva, where his tombstone still exists. Fra Giovanni was a simple and most holy man. He became known as Angelico, but he had long been called 'Beato Angelico' (the Blessed Angelico), but his beatification was not made official by the Vatican until 1984.