Sunday, 8 January 2017

Fra Angelico Feast Day

Fra Angelico is known by various names. The Angelic Friar, Brother John and Giovanni of Fiesole to name but a few. He was a Dominican friar and a painter in the early 1400s in Florence and then Rome and regularly conversed with angels which is how he could paint their wings so accurately. Brother John believed.

There are no contemporary pictures of the Good Brother but this is thought to be a likeness of him painted after his death.

Shortly after his death he began to be known as the 'angelic' due to his devotion and his paintings and his reputation was confirmed when Vasari wrote his history of the artists in 1550, a hundred years after the death of the Good Brother. In 1982 Pope John Paul II beatified Brother John in his original friary of San Domenico in Fiesole outside Florence. I've seen the plaque on the wall beside his wonderful altarpiece that commemorates the event.

Since he is officially beatified then that means he can intercede for you if you pray to him. It also means that he has a feast day and, for Fra Angelico, that is 18 February each year. I don't know how the date was decided but it's a special day, as is Wesak for Lord Buddha and Christmas Day.

On the 18th of each month in 2017 I will post a photo of one of Fra Angelico's paintings that I have seen. You can never have too many Fra Angelico paintings in your life and these will be paintings I have seen 'in the paint', so to speak.  Reproductions, no matter how glossy, rarely show the beauty or greatness of a painting and you have to see them in front of you. I first visited San Marco in Florence which is full of Fra Angelico paintings in 2005 and I've been lucky enough to see many more of the Fra's works over the years, including the marvellous exhibition at Musee Jacquemart-Andree in Paris five years ago. I want to share their glory with you.

No comments: