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Fra Angelico (Fra Giovanni da Fiesole)

( Italian painter Florentine school.)

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Biography Fra Angelico (Fra Giovanni da Fiesole)
(ca. 1400-1455)
In his works combined deep religious content and sophistication of style, a Gothic painting traditions and features of the new art of the Renaissance. Writes Vasari, Fra Angelico has left its memory not only as an artist, but as a saint. He prayed before to pick up the brush and could not write the Crucifixion without tears. After his death he was called Beato (Blessed), despite the fact that this status has not been formally recognized for his church.
Fra Angelico, in the world bearing the name of Guido di Pietro (Guido di Piero), was born in the village of Vicco in Tuscany 1400. In documents relating to 1417, he was referred to as an artist, is also known that up to 1423 in Fiesole, he joined the Dominican Order, received the name of Fra Giovanni da Fiesole, and later was the monastery of San Marco in Florence.

Many of the works attributed to the early period of creativity Fra Angelico, now considered works of his pupils, variations on the themes of his compositions. One of the first major artist's works - a triptych Linayuoli from the monastery of San Marco in Florence (1433-1435), in the central part of which represented the Virgin Mary with the Baby on the throne, and side wings of two saints. The figure shows the Virgin Mary is traditionally, but in the picture facing the holy markedly influence Masaccio's painting, with its heavy and rigid and volume of. Image draperies are somewhat abstract and conditional and is made in accordance with the canons of Gothic art, but beneath them is already discernible body shape, which is a feature of the painting of a new era. Scenes at the bottom of the altar were built without regard to the laws of perspective with a single vanishing point, but the master finds his approach to the problem of the transfer of three-dimensional space.

In the 1430-1440-ies Fra Angelico one of the first to use a new type of altarpiece, which has become very popular during the Renaissance, - sacra conversazione (holy interview). Early altarpiece usually consisted of a central part with the image of the Madonna and Child with the lateral leaflets with images of saints. All figures were separated from each other details of carved architectural framing. In the composition sacra conversazione any division of it: all the characters are placed in a single space, like the saints gathered around the Madonna and Child for conversation and prayer. One of the most interesting altar of this type, made by Fra Angelico, was written by him for the monastery of San Marco in Florence (1438-1440; is ibid.). Madonna and Child seated on a throne, standing on the richly inlaid floor against the wall, behind which is visible Grove. The ranks of angels and saints fan-located on both sides of the throne. Surrounding us saints - Cosmas and Damian, patrons of the Medici family - their postures and gestures as if inviting the audience to bow their appearing ocham vision. Judging from this work, Fra Angelico aimed to convey the feeling of staying physically real figures of characters within an illusory space.

The combination of new realist painting techniques and traditional songs of religious way of solutions is reflected in the work of the Coronation of Mary (Florence, Uffizi), written c.. 1434-1435, possibly together with Domenico Veneziano. The wizard is fully owned by the rules of transmission of light and perspective building. However, the scene is treated as a mystical vision, and not as a physical phenomenon.

From 1438 to 1445 the artist painted murals Florentine convent of San Marco. This monastery is transmitted by the Dominican Order by Pope Eugene IV, was rebuilt by the architect Michelozzo commissioned by Duke Cosimo de 'Medici. Subjects paintings associated with the Dominican Order, its history, the charter, especially saints. Example is the fresco kluatra (Dead Christ, Christ in the form of a pilgrim, which take two Dominican monks, SW. Peter Martyr (the main holy Dominicans); SW. Dominic, kneeling at the Crucifixion).

In the hall of the Chapter Fra Angelico wrote a great song Crucifixion with two thieves on either side of Christ and the crowd of saints of all ages of Christianity, gathered at the foot of the cross. Their sad faces turned to the ground, no one looks up at Christ, the artist depicted the Crucifixion, not as a historical event, but as a mystical way of living in the human mind.

The frescoes of the monastery of San Marco fills the spirit of the Imitation of Christ - the mystical religious treatise written by a canon Augustinian Thomas a Kempis. Each cell was also decorated with frescoes, which were intended for the edification of the brethren, such as composition derision of Christ. Sentiments of these frescoes match the simplicity and quiet restraint of painting.

Last ten years of life of Fra Angelico in Rome, where he decorated with frescoes the chapel of Pope Nicholas V (1445-1448). Themes of the paintings are fragments of the lives of St.. Lawrence and St.. Stefan. According to the plan that was more narrative scenes, than prayer images. They used complex architectural backgrounds, to build that sense of knowing the master of ancient art, and fine tuned in future constructions can be seen the influence of Masaccio and Brunelleschi. The figures are more massive than in the frescoes of the monastery of San Marco, thanks to this there is a special shade of solemnity.


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