Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fra Angelico

If you have viewed this blog for any time at all you can easily notice that Fra Angelico is my favorite artist. I have put up on this site well over a dozen of his paintings. He holds a special place in my heart. Several years ago while shopping for some religious articles to give to family members and friends for Easter, I came across this most beautiful painting of The Annunciation, it did not have a label as to whom the artist was but I bought it and gave it to my wife. Last year my wife and I went on a trip to Italy. Before we left I was reading the Magnificat, on each issue, at the back is a painting that they review. I noticed that the painting was in the Convent of San Marco in Florence. and that the artist was Fra Angelico. A few days later I had remarked about it to my son and he told me about Fra Angelico. He pointed out that the Annunciation painting in our kitchen was done by him. One day while in Florence, I ventured off by myself to the Convent of San Marco. I found it and while I was at the ticket counter I showed the painting from the back of the issue of the Magnificat, the one you can see to the left of this post Dominic at the Crucifixion. In my best Italian I asked if it was there at the convent. She reached out over the counter and pointed to it - it was right inside within view. What had been previously a convent became a monastery for Dominican monks. It housed much of Fra Angelico's works along with a few other masters. In each room, called a cell, Fra Angelico had painted a fresco of depicting some part of Christ's life; the Nativity, Crucifixion, etc. there are 34 cells on the 2nd floor and each had this incredible work of art inside. For more on Fra Angelico click on the Saint of the Day to your left or here. A few days after visiting the Convent of San Marco, we were in Rome. My wife and I walked to the Pantheon and just a block or so behind it is the Chiesa de Santa Maria sopra Minerva - The Basillica Church of St. Mary built over the the former temple of Minerva. There, near the altar is Michelangelo's statue of Christ the Redeemer, also inside is the tomb of St. Catherine of Sienna. as we walked throughout the church gazing at the beautiful art throughout, I noticed another tomb and much to my surprise it was Fra Angelico's. His work is so inspiring, and does something for me. In 1982 Pope John Paul II beatified Fra Angelico declaring him the patron saint of Catholic artists. He died on this date in 1455. Fra Angelico, pray for us.

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