Fra Angelico brought classical realism to the art of
painting. A Dominican friar, he was one of the greatest
painters of the early Renaissance. A brilliant luminosity
gives his works a spiritual glow.
Known as a simple, holy man, Fra Angelico first
worked as a manuscript illuminator. In 1438, Cosimo
de'Medici commissioned him to paint frescos in the
convent of San Marco to aid the devotion of the friars.
Fra Angelico put as much effort into the paintings to
adorn the walls of the tiny cells where each friar lived as
he did those for the larger, more public spaces.
In his later life, Fra Angelico worked in Orvieto, Perugia
and Rome, where he frescoed the private chapel of
Pope Nicholas V in the Vatican. He died in Rome in
1455 but wasn't beatified until 1984.
Fra Angelico's St. Peter preaching in the presence of St.
Mark from the Linaiuoli Triptych demonstrates the use of
perspective, placing the scene on a real Florence street with
real Florentines listening in.
The Virgin of Humility, ca.1436-8, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Her
robe shows the Renaissance modeling of forms with light and