It is Fra Angelico’s feast day! Huzzah!
I’ve talked about Fra Angelico before… basically, he is one of the most amazing religious painters that has ever lived. Vasari, who did a whole history about pretty much all the major artists up to Michaelangelo, of whom he was a contempary, even said, ” It is impossible to bestow too much praise on this holy father, who was so humble and modest in all that he did and said and whose pictures were painted with such facility and piety.”
Did I also mention that Fra Angelico used to paint the Crucifixion in tears? Because he totally did.
Anyway, I found this beautiful artwork of Fra Angelico in the middle of working on one of these images of the Crucifixion, and I just had to share:
It is a picture of Fra Angelico being visited by angels, who are watching him as he weeps while painting the Crucifixion. And who can blame him? Honestly, it brings to mind a quote by Saint Augustine, in which Saint Augustine said, “A single tear shed at the remembrance of the Passion of Jesus is worth more than a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, or a year of fasting on bread and water.”
Where is Fra Angelico painting these paintings of the Crucifixion… and why? Simple. Fra Angelico used to be a Dominican monk who lived in a the convent of San Marco, located in Florence, Italy. He was already a trained artist when he entered into the monastery, and the brothers quickly put him to work! He painted the walls of the monasteries with his frescoes.
His more elaborate pictures often were in the common areas, such as this one, which was is on the opposite wall to the chapter house.
However he also painted simpler pictures of the Crucifixion, often in the cells of his brothers and fellow Dominicans. And so, for today I would like to highlight his pictures of the Crucifixion that he made for his fellow brothers in for their own personal cells.
The convent is no longer used as a convent. In fact, today it’s a museum. However, many people have gone there for as a pilgrimage to see these stunning paintings by Fra Angelico, one of the few painters who is not only a stunning artist but also beatified as well. There, his work continues to inspire those that visit — either in person or afar! — today.
May Fra Angelico pray for us!