Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 20 February

stained glass window of Fra Angelico, Saint Dominic's Church, London, England, artist unknown; swiped with permission from the flickr.com photostream of Father Lawrence Lew, OPBlessed Angelico of Fiesole, Confessor, O.P.

Blessed Angelico was to painting what Saint Thomas was to theology and Dante to poetry. No artist has approached nearer to the divine ideal. With quiet colors and simple strokes of the brush, he was inimitable in the truth, variety and supernatural expression of his pictures. He painted the figure of Our Lord crucified while kneeling and with tears in his eyes. His pictures of the Blessed Virgin are lovely and breathe purity and beatitude. This was because the artist was a saint. He was formed in his novitiate to the holy observances of the Order by Savonarola; Blessed Lawrence of Ripafratta, Blessed Antony Neyrot and Blessed Constant Fabriano were his guides or his rivals in fervor. His pictures were in great request, but he had only one answer to all who came: “Get leave from Father Prior and I will do what you wish.” Even in the palace of Eugenius IV he kept the abstinence of the Order, and it was he who suggested to the Pontiff the nomination of Saint Antoninus to the Archbishopric of Florence. Although his name was John, he was always called Angelico, because of the angelic character of his paintings and of his life. The title of Blessed is universally given to him and he is represented in pictures with rays round his head. May his cultus be one day confirmed by the Church (1455).

Prayer

O Jesus, when shall my life be a picture copied from thine image and likeness?

Practice

Encourage the distribution of holy pictures, but take care that they are in good taste and convey holy teaching.