Blessed John of Fiesole was born around 1400 in a village overlooking Florence. He started painting as a boy and studied under a local painting master. At 20, he joined the Dominican Order. He took the name Fra Angelico, perhaps a tribute to the devotional tone of his works. He continued to study painting He perfected his own techniques, which included broad-brush strokes, vivid colors and generous, lifelike figures. Fra Angelico sought to generate a feeling of religious devotion in response to his paintings. Among his most famous works are the Annunciation and Descent from the Cross. He is known as the patron of Christian artists.
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.”
He performed in leadership positions within the Dominican Order. Pope Eugenius once asked John to serve as archbishop of Florence. He declined, preferring a simpler life. Blessed John of Fiesole died in 1455.
- Decent from the Cross