Monday, 18 September 2017

Fra Angelico 9/12

It's the 18th of the month again, so, to celebrate Fra Angelico's feast day I'm posting pictures of Fra Angelico's paintings that I've seen. For September I've chosen the 'Virgin & Child' in the Sabauda Gallery collection in Turin that I saw the exhibition of the Fra's work at the Musee Jacquemart-Andre in Paris in 2011. This painting was the poster for the exhibition and also the cover of the catalogue.

It's a gorgeous painting and is very calm and still, almost a meditation piece. It draws you in when you're standing in front of it. Mary gazes down at her son who looks out towards the viewer.

This painting is a bit different to many of the Fra's other Virgin and Child paintings in that it has classical columns in the background rather than the often-used cloth of gold background - the cloth is still there, but this time as curtains. Also, there are no angels looking after the holy pair, just a mother and her baby. The baby clearly isn't just any baby, but looks to the future with the cross of the resurrection in his halo - he can't escape his destiny. If you look closely you can see the words 'Ave Maria' written in Mary's halo.

This painting always reminds me of that trip to Paris on a chilly November day, walking along Boulevard Haussmann to see the large queue outside to get into the exhibition. I'd already booked timed entry tickets so spent the waiting time in the cafe. 

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