Fra Angelico aka “Angelic Friar,” was a well-known renaissance Italian painter.  Born and raised in Florence, Italy, in 1395, Angelico had been a Dominican friair and considered one of the best fresco painters of the century.  Fra Angelico had spent most of his life in Florence as a Florentine painter.  He had been invited by pope Eugenius IV to Rome in the year of 1445.  Rome, where Fra Angelico died ten years later in 1455, is where he painted the Chapel of San Brizio in 1447.  Angelico’s last works, painted 1450-1455, were the Saint Lawrence Giving Alms, The Ordination of Saint Lawrence, and the Stoning of Saint Stephen.

Angelico’s work embodied religious attitude and had “classical influence.”  Most of Angelico’s work had been for various churches.  A great number of works executed during his career are altarpieces and frescoes created for the church and the San Marco in Florence while he had lived there.

Angelico was influenced by his fellow friar St. Antoninus Pierozzi.  Pierozzi had been an inspiration to Angelico’s compositions.  From 1408 to 1418 Fra Angelico was at the Dominican friary of Cortona where he painted frescoes, now destroyed, in the Dominican Church and was believed to have been an assistant to or follower of Gherardo Starnina.

At Fiesole he was influenced by the teachings of Giovanni Dominici.  Fra Angelico’s real name was Guido di Pietro. When he entered the Dominican convent he changed his name for Giovanni. “Fra”  means brother in italian. “Angelico”, meaning angelic.

Angelico was also influenced by Massaccio but Fra Angelico refused to put any drama or angst in his paintings. To him there was room for “only charity and forgiveness,” in his work.

Fra Angelico died in the year of 1455, in Rome and was buried in the church of S. Maria sopra Minerva.

Last Judgement

The Last Judgment, one of Angelico’s major works.  It was originally sited in the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli and now is in the museum of San Marco, Florence. It is not to be confused with another Fra Angelico Last Judgement in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.

Title: The Crucifixion Medium:  Tempura on wood Date created: 1420 - 1423 Location: Museum of San Marco, Florence

Title: The Crucifixion
Medium: Tempura on wood
Date created: 1420 – 1423
Location: Museum of San Marco, Florence

The Crucifixion, one of Angelico’s early works, was produced in 1435 – 1440.  The panel relates to the events of Christ’s last week on earth.  The painting is filled with colorful with passion and emotions.  The crucifixion was a very popular subject during the renaissance.

Title: The Crucifixion Medium:  Tempura on wood Date created: 1420 - 1423 Location: Museum of San Marco, Florence

Title: The Crucifixion
Medium: Tempura on wood
Date created: 1420 – 1423
Location: Museum of San Marco, Florence

The Annunciation, one of Angelico’s major works, was painted on a wall by the staircase so that the monks who walked by could enjoy it.

Fra Angelico’s, The Crucifixion, is made up of a circle of Roman soldiers around the crucifixion of Jesus.  In the foreground there is Jesus’ mother fainted with women around her holding her head and hands.  The work is about the passion and intensity of the crucifixion of Christ.  It portrays a lot of emotion.  The crucifixion was a very historical event where Jesus was crucified and the Christian view was that he had died for our sins.  The painting emphasizes the brutality of the event with blood being pronounced.  The subject of this work is important and was a popular idea for many artists in the renaissance era.

Angelico’s work is characterized as religious.  Most of his work is based on religious views or events because most of his work was for churches.  The composition of the Crucifixion is based on hierarchy of power.  Jesus on the cross is the most important part of the painting and the main focus.  The Roman soldiers surrounding the cross form a great border for the focal point.   The balance of soldiers on either side is quite even so that it doesn’t make one side seem more important than the other; it keeps the eye drawn to the center.  The color is bold, emotional and shows a lot of passion and complexity of the event.  The contrast of the red with the rest of the colors in the painting really gives it a heartfelt feeling.   Angelico’s paintings have a way of keeping the viewer interested and makes them feel for the even as if they were present.

The Crucifixion is characterized as Italian Renaissance by the subject of the painting.  Jesus being crucified was a favored subject in the renaissance period.  The Renaissance was a cultural movement with major influences in art, religion, literature and science.  During the renaissance artists searched for realism and emotion in their art.  Fra Angelicio did a fascinating job in creating an emotional and passionate using contrast and hierarchy of scale in his The Crucifixion.

Works Cited

Angelico, Fra. The Last Judgment. 2005. Painting. About Art and the Bible, Florence,

Italy. Web. 14 Aug 2013.

Angelico, Fra. The Annunciation. 2005. Fresco. About Art and the Bible, Florence, Italy.

Web. 14 Aug 2013.

“Fra Angelico: The Crucifixion (43.98.5)”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New

York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–.

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/43.98.5 (October 2006)

“Fra Angelico.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation Inc., 20 May 2013. Web. 14 Aug 2013.

Moss, Danielle. The Culture Enthusiast. Blogger, 23 Jul 2012. Web. 14 Aug 2013. <http://thecultureenthusiast.blogspot.com/2012/07/cool-facts-about-fra-angelico.html&gt;.

Perspectives of Christ. Blogger, 18 Apr 2011. Web. 14 Aug 2013.

<http://perspectivesofthecrucifixion.blogspot.com/2011/04/crucifixion-fra-

angelico.html>.

Salmi, Mario. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., n.d. Web. 14 Aug 2013. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/24542/Fra-Angelico&gt;.

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