Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fra Angelico

Not much is known about Fra Angelico’s early life; we don’t even know his birthday. He was a friar during the 1400s (born sometime in the late 1390s) in Italy. It was at the monastery that he fine-tuned his artistic skills.

Fra Angelico was trained as an illuminator, which means that he added decorations to manuscripts. Though any book can be illuminated, Fra Angelico worked on bibles because he was a monk.

In 1436 Fra Angelico moved to a monastery in Florence where he met a very important member of Florence’s government, Cosimo de Medici. Medici liked Fra Angelico’s paintings and urged him to decorate the monastery—he painted enough frescoes to decorate all the cells. In these frescoes he used very subdued colors such as light pink, and tan, and painted all the figures to look human and earthly. You can see this in the fresco shown below, the Annunciation.
He then created frescoes at the Vatican, including the one shown below, St. Peter Consecrates St. Lawrence as Deacon. Fra Angelico was commissioned to decorate the Vatican so he had to use lots of the most expensive gold and blue made from lapis lazuli. These pricey paints reflected on the patron who paid for the paintings. Brilliantly, Fra Angelico was able to make the figures realistic despite the bright colors and gilding.

For a fresco project, click here.

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And thus begins NaNoWriMo 2007.
Bring on the madness.

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Fancy said...

Thank you for posting this. I am teaching an art class to 6-year-olds and this is a wonderfully simple explanation of the life of this great artist.

Jessica said...

Thanks for the feedback. It's nice to hear about the little ones learning art history. Especially that they're learning about a great like Fra Angelico.

I look forward to watching your blog grow. I'm sure there will be plenty of brilliant posts to come!