Illustrated Catholic Family Annual – Fra Angelico

illustration of Fra Angelico, artist unknown, printed in the 1875 Illustrated Catholic Family AnnualArticle

Beato Angelico, the great Dominican painter, was born in 1387, at Vicchio, one of the fortified villages which crown the summit of the Apennines, in the province of Mugello, Tuscany, and died at Rome in 1455. At the age of twenty-nine he entered the Dominican monastery near Fiesole, where he took the name in religion of Giovanni da Fiesole. Here he passed his days in the devout discharge of his art. From the beauty of his angels and saints he was called by his country men il beato, the blessed, and angelico, the angelic. All his paintings were of sacred subjects, and he never accepted money for any of them, and never commenced them without first offering up a prayer. He visited Rome at the special command of Pope Nicholas V, and was requested to decorate the Papal chapel, which he did. The Holy Father offered him the archbishopric of Florence, but his humility would not allow him to accept this dignity; but he recommended a brother monk for the position, which he obtained. He painted frescos in his own monastery and in the Church of Santa Maria Novello at Florence, as well as numerous miniatures and easel pictures, of which the Louvre in Paris possesses a noble specimen – the “Coronation of the Virgin.”

The gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts at Florence is the richest in Beato Angelico’s pictures. His most remarkable work – and critics say his best – is the “Descent from the Cross.” His paintings, large and small, number in all one hundred and twenty-five.

MLA Citation

  • “Fra Angelico”. Illustrated Catholic Family Annual, 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 17 January 2017. Web. 25 April 2017. <>