Fra Angelico – Painter of Angels

During the Early Renaissance, Fra Angelico earned a reputation for producing a series of frescoes for his own friary in Florence. The series is a fascinating glimpse into the religious beliefs of the time and his ability to capture the mood of the moment in a very refined style. As such, it has been described by Vasari as having “rare and perfect talent”.

Fra Angelico

Religious beliefs

During the early days of the Renaissance, Fra Angelico’s religious beliefs and paintings influenced other Renaissance painters. Although he was not a religious person himself, his devotion to religion formed the worldview that he would convey through his artwork.

His works were primarily painted to depict spiritual truth through beauty, form, and gesture. He incorporated Renaissance symbols and techniques to create unique synthesis of the medieval devotional painting and the Renaissance style of art.

Fra Angelico was an observant Dominican. He was also a Carmelite friar. He painted religious altarpieces and choir books. He also illustrated manuscripts. He worked with student Benozzo Gozzoli. His artwork decorated the pages of monastic Bibles. He also executed frescoes for the monastery of San Marco in Florence.

After returning from Rome in 1450, Fra Angelico completed the Annunciation in the dormitory corridor of the monastery of San Marco. His Annunciation is one of the most famous paintings of his career. The image is characterized by a halo around Christ’s head, an elevated halo on the throne, and an elevated halo on the pedestal. This painting is also used as the seat backdrop for the clergy in the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence.

Another of his works is The Last Judgment, a depiction of torment that is reminiscent of the torment that the condemned undergo in Pisa. This is accompanied by a throng of angelic beings performing music in the higher part of the brilliant sky.

In his early days as a painter, Fra Angelico trained in the studios of Lorenzo Monaco. He was also a student of Antoninus of Florence, who promoted the use of sacred art in Florence.


Known for his colorful religious frescoes, Fra Angelico was the early painter of the Italian Renaissance. His works used a new science of perspective to achieve a level of naturalism not seen in the Old Masters. He produced a series of paintings for his own friary in Florence.

In his Annunciation, a dove carrying a sun ray elevates the holiness of the Madonna. The central section shows two standing saints. The halos are solidly golden. The’magic’ of this piece lies in its use of expressive devices.

The panel is divided into three sections. The three musical angels in the central section are accompanied by a pair of standing saints. The central section is framed by a shell-shaped niche. The bottom of the drapery fabric flows into space to demonstrate movement.

The Annunciation is an important work for Fra Angelico. It is a good example of his single-point perspective and his use of the most basic elements of art-the line, the form, and the colour.

Fra Angelico’s half-lengths are among the most attractive paintings of the period. Their exquisite coloring and fine preservation make them extremely rare. They are also the most expensive pieces of his oeuvre.

In the Aesthetic Movement, curiosity and the desire for beauty were deemed worthy motivations for creating artwork. The Aesthetic Movement argued that art should depict nature in its natural state. This is especially true in religious art.

The Aesthetic Movement was a reaction to the baroque style of religious painting. Its main gimmick was the use of nature to enhance a work of art. Typically, artists in this period used monochrome rendering or monochrome colouring.

Although Fra Angelico was the first to use the’magic’ of naturalism in religious art, his achievement was surpassed by his pupil, Piero di Cosimo. His works are exemplary of the Aesthetic Movement.

Influence on Renaissance painters

Among the most significant painters of the early Renaissance, Fra Angelico melded devotion and inventive invention to create a unique synthesis of medieval devotional painting. His art has been admired for centuries and continues to inspire many artists. He is especially noted for his paintings of angels.

The Dominican painter was born in Florence in 1412 and grew up in the Dominican community of Vicchio. He was a painter, illuminator, and friar. He painted religious subjects, often using the human body as a model. His technique included linear perspective, volumetric modeling, and shadows. His palette was rich and varied, accented with fine white strokes.

Initially, his paintings exhibited Gothic characteristics. His work in San Marco in Florence is a classic example. It became a model for Florentine altarpieces in the early 1500s. He was summoned to Rome by Pope Eugenius IV in July 1445. He stayed there until 1450. He then returned to Fiesole. He completed a major project at San Marco.

Fra Angelico’s later works were painted for rich merchants and bankers. He also painted numerous chapels in the Vatican Palace for Pope Nicholas V. His best known works include the Deposition of Christ. He is also known for his renowned altarpiece in the Prado Museum.

Fra Angelico was inspired by his mentor, Leon Battista Alberti. He was also influenced by Lorenzo Monaco. Moreover, his artistic career coincided with a shift in patronage in 15th century Europe. His artwork illustrates the transition from Gothic to Renaissance.

He painted religious subjects in an illusionistic world. He used linear perspective to organize compositions. His human figures were detailed and sharply outlined. He also had a wide range of hues.


Among his most famous works was a series of frescoes in his own friary in Florence. These were painted between the early 1420s and the mid-1430s.

His work as a painter of religious pictures was based on the depiction of events in the life of Christ. His paintings were considered reliquaries, and were put on the altar on the Feast Days of most solem monasteries. His style of painting remained medieval in spirit, retaining the piety of the Middle Ages. He was also well-informed about the innovations of Renaissance masters, such as Brunelleschi. His technique allowed him to create convincing spatial settings.

Angelico is generally credited with the conception of fifty-three surviving frescoes. His work as a illuminator was greatly diminished after the mid-1420s. Some of his later paintings were attributed to assistants, who presumably copied his designs. However, the attribution of four panels to Fra Angelico has been questioned.

The drawing is a very accurate representation of a kneeling saint. He is shown with joined palms, and crossed arms over his chest. He is accompanied by a small angel whispering in his ear. It is executed in brown ink and heightened with white lead. It was published as a preparatory study for a painting. It was exhibited in L’Arte magazine in 1931.

The drawing was acquired by Captain Norman Colville in 1938. It was transferred to the Fitzwilliam Museum in England in 1970. It is now held by the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

In the late 18th century, the panel was a part of the Boston church sacristy. It was seen by Roberto Longhi, who attributed the painting to Fra Angelico in 1940. The painting has since been attributed to the young Alesso Baldovinetti.