Saturday, 18 February 2017

Fra Angelico 2/12

On the 18th of each month in 2017 I will post a photo of a painting by Fra Angelico to celebrate his Feast Day on 18 February. Today is his Feast Day so I'm posting possibly his most famous painting, the fresco of the Annunciation at the convent of San Marco in Florence.

This is a photo that I took myself on my last visit to San Marco a couple of years ago, standing in front of the fresco so the view isn't quite right. It's a fresco which means it is painted directly onto the wall and the paint dries into the plaster to become part of the wall. When you go upstairs to visit the monks' private areas, the dormitory and the library, this is the first thing you see at the top of the stairs through the open doors, a large painting of the Mother of God and the angel Gabriel.

It's protected by a big sheet of perspex to make sure tourists can't touch it but it is still a glory to see, the first of many glories in the dormitory. Fra Angelico painted a scene from the New Testament of the Bible in each of the monks' small cells and it is a privilege to be able to wander round and look at each of them.

From the square in front of San Marco you can get a bus up into the hills around Florence and, just before you reach the small town of Fiesole, you pass the church and monastery of San Domenico in which Fra Angelio joined the Dominican Brotherhood and where he lived as a young man. It still has one of his altarpieces and, on the wall beside it, is a small plaque announcing that Pope John Paul II beatified Brother Giovanni in 1982.

As a Blessed, he has a Feast Day and Il Beato Angelico's Feast Day is today, 18 February.

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