Blessed John of Fiesole, Sts. Leo and Paregorius, St. Simeon, St. Simon
by americancatholic.org | Source: americancatholic.org
Blessed John of Fiesole
The patron of
Christian artists was born around 1400 in a village overlooking Florence. He took up painting as a
young boy and studied under the watchful eye of a local painting master. He joined the Dominicans at
about age 20, taking the name Fra Giovanni. He eventually came to be known as Fra Angelico, perhaps
a tribute to his own angelic qualities or maybe the devotional tone of his works.
He continued to study
painting and perfect his own techniques, which included broad-brush strokes, vivid colors and
generous, lifelike figures. Michelangelo once said of Fra Angelico: "One has to believe that this
good monk has visited paradise and been allowed to choose his models there." Whatever his subject
matter, Fra Angelico sought to generate feelings of religious devotion in response to his paintings.
Among his most famous works are the Annunciation and Descent from the Cross as well as frescoes in
the monastery of San Marco in Florence.
He also served in leadership positions within the Dominican Order. At one point
Pope Eugenius approached him about serving as archbishop of Florence. Fra Angelico declined,
preferring a simpler life. He died in 1455.
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