This Italian artist of the early Renaissance is more familiar to the general public as Fra Angelico with a light hand by Giorgio Vasari. At birth, his name was Guido di Pietro; after the monastic tonsure of the artist, his name was Fra Giovanni Da Fiesole (brother John of Fiesole). Very soon, the name “Beato”, that is, “Blessed”, began to be added to the nickname “Angelico” (“angelic”) received from Vasari. Such a nickname was officially fixed by the Vatican only in 1984, when it was canonized and became the official patron of artists.
The name "Beato" was received by him not only for the religious and exalted content of paintings. He not only formally belonged to the monastic order. Fra Angelico was a truly religious person who did not begin work without prayer. I immediately recall the Orthodox icon painters, for whom fasting, prayers and repentance are an integral part of creating a religious masterpiece.
The future artist was born in 1400 in a small town near Florence. At the age of 18, he entered the monastery of the Dominican Order. It is not known where, for how long and from whom he studied painting, since the first known examples of his work date back to 1428 or 1433. Many of the early frescoes of the master have not survived to the present day.
Fra Angelico was a talented master who created wonderful, delicate and slightly naive murals that perfectly corresponded to the spirit of that time. He had students and followers, including famous artists Antoniazzo Romano and Benozzo Gozzoli.
After many years of absence and work in the Vatican, Fra Beato returned to Florence in 1449 and a year later became rector of the Dominican monastery in the city, where he became a monk in Fiesole.
The artist-monk lived a little by today's standards - 55 years old, he was buried in Rome, where two years later he arrived at the call of Pope Nicholas V. It is believed that the pontiff himself wrote the epitaph on the grave that has survived to this day.
The preserved frescoes of the artist allow us to appreciate the truth of his recognition as angelic and blessed. Indeed, all his works are filled with a special religious spirit, they are bright and felt. For all his deep religiosity, he was not a stranger to new trends in art, in particular, he used perspective, giving volume and expressiveness to a flat image.
The master managed to convey in the paintings the feelings that he experienced at the time of their writing. And it is precisely this that makes the picturesque images alive, touching the heart and soul even many centuries after the death of their creator himself.