DEATH: 1455 FRA ANGELICO
BIRTH: 1853 HODLER
Born on 14 Mar 1853: Ferdinand
Hodler, Swiss Art
Nouveau painter, who died on 19 May 1918.
From 1871 to 1878 Hodler studied in Geneva with Barthélémy Menn, a pupil of Ingres and a friend of Corot. He travelled in Switzerland and Spain and discovered the works of Dürer, Holbein and Raphael. Began his Symbolist period with Night, which won him international repute. Hodler exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Francais, the Rose+Croix and the Vienna, Munich and Berlin Sezession. The coherence of his compositions was based on repeated lines, volumes and colors, a method he termed "parallelism".
Night (1890) _ This painting according to Hodler does not represent a particular night, but the totality of diverse nocturnal impressions. The key idea is that sleep prefigures death. The central figure is a sleeper in the throes of a nightmare; his wracked body and twisted features also seem to express fear at the coming of death. Thus the inscription on the frame: 'More than one man has gone to sleep calmly in the evening not to wake up again in the morning'.
Day I (1900) The Chosen One _ The Chosen One The Convalescent (1880) Louise-Delphine Duchosal (1885) Surprised by the Storm (1887) Emotion (1902)
Died on 25 March 1455: Giovanni
da Fiesole, Fra Angelico, Italian
painter specialized in Religious
Subjects, born in 1387 His students included Alessio
Baldovinetti and Benozzo
The life of Fra Giovanni da Fiesole, baptized as Guido di Piero (born around 1395 in Vicchio di Mugello, died in Rome in 1455) is the stuff of legend. “Angelic” was how he came to be known soon after his death; the name “Beato” was a comment on his painting and not a reference to his beatification, which happened only in 1984.
Fra Angelico was a Dominican, and a mendicant, so, not being part of a closed order, he was free to meet and talk to others in the city. In 1420-1422, he entered the convent of San Domenico in Fiesole with his brother Benedetto. It was here that he produced his first works: altarpiece for the high altar, Altarpiece of the Annunciation, The Coronation of the Virgin, as well as the frescoes for his monastery.
Fra Angelico not only gained recognition as a painter, but must have commanded respect in his convent because he was appointed Vicario for the first time in Fiesole from 1432-1433, a post he was to hold frequently in later years.
In the 1430’s the painter worked in Florentine churches. He carried out the following commissions for the Dominicans in Cortona: the Cortona Triptych and the Annunciation panel. From 1438, he worked on his most important commission, the San Marco Altarpiece and the frescoes for the convent of San Marco in Florence.
In July 1445 Fra Angelico was summoned by Eugenius IV to Rome, where he painted frescoes in the chapel of Santissimo Sacramento, which was later destroyed under Pope Paul III. For Eugenius’ successor, Nicholas V, he painted the frescoes of St. Stephen and St. Lawrence between 1447 and 1449 with the assistance of Benozzo Gazzoli (1420-1497), in the Capella Niccolina in the Vatican, named after the Pope who commissioned the frescoes.
In the summer of 1447, he began work on the frescoes in the Capella di San Brizio, in the cathedral at Orvieto. These were competed by Luca Signorelli fifty years later. From 1450-1452, he returned to his old convent in Fiesole as Prior, before going for one last time to Rome, where he died. He is buried in Santa Maria sopra Minerva, where his grave has always drawn worshippers. After his beatification by Pope John Paul II in 1984, the headstone was placed on a plinth and surrounded by a bronze grille with floral motifs. His feast day is 18 February, the day of his death.
Fra Angelico combined the life of a devout friar with that of an accomplished painter. He was called Angelico and Beato because the paintings he did were of calm, religious subjects and because of his extraordinary personal piety.
Originally named Guido di Pietro, Angelico was born in Vicchio, Tuscany. He entered a Dominican convent in Fiesole in 1418 and became a friar using the name Giovanni da Fiesole. Although his teacher is unknown, he apparently began his career as an illuminator of missals and other religious books. He began to paint altarpieces and other panels; among his important early works are the Madonna of the Star (1433) and Christ in Glory Surrounded by Saints and Angels, which depicts more than 250 distinct figures. Among other works of that period are two of the Coronation of the Virgin and The Deposition and The Last Judgment. His mature style is first seen in the Madonna of the Linen Weavers (1433), which features a border with 12 music-making angels.
In 1436 some of the Dominican friars of Fiesole moved to the convent of San Marco in Florence, which had recently been rebuilt by Michelozzo. Angelico, sometimes aided by assistants, painted many frescoes for the cloister, chapter house, and entrances to the 20 cells on the upper corridors. The most impressive of these are The Crucifixion, Christ as a Pilgrim, and Transfiguration. His altarpiece for San Marco (1439) is one of the first representations of what is known as a Sacred Conversation: the Madonna flanked by angels and saints who seem to share a common space. In 1445 Angelico was summoned to Rome by Pope Eugenius IV to paint frescoes for the now destroyed Chapel of the Sacrament in the Vatican. In 1447, with his pupil Benozzo Gozzoli, he painted frescoes for the cathedral in Orvieto. His last important works, frescoes for the chapel of Pope Nicholas in the Vatican, are Scenes from the Lives of Saints Stephen and Lawrence (1447-1449), probably painted from his designs by assistants.
From 1449 to 1452 Angelico was prior of his convent in Fiesole. He died in the Dominican convent in Rome. Angelico combined the influence of the elegantly decorative Gothic style of Gentile da Fabriano with the more realistic style of such Renaissance masters as the painter Masaccio and the sculptors Donatello and Ghiberti, all of whom worked in Florence. Angelico was also aware of the theories of perspective proposed by Leon Battista Alberti. Angelico's representation of devout facial expressions and his use of color to heighten emotion are particularly effective. His skill in creating monumental figures, representing motion, and suggesting deep space through the use of linear perspective, especially in the Roman frescoes, mark him as one of the foremost painters of the Renaissance.
Although in popular tradition he has been seen as not an artist properly so-called but an inspired saint, Angelico was in fact a highly professional artist, who was in touch with the most advanced developments in contemporary Florentine art and in later life travelled extensively for prestigious commissions. He probably began his career as a manuscript illuminator, and his early paintings are strongly influenced by International Gothic. But even in the most lavishly decorative of them all the Annunciation in the Diocesan Museum in Cortona Masaccio's incluence is evident in the insistent perspective of the architecture. For most of his career Angelico was based in S. Domenico in Fiesole (he became Prior there in 1450), but his most famous works were painted at San Marco in Florence (now an Angelico museum), a Sylvestrine monastry which was taken over by his Order in 1436. He and his assistants painted about fifty frescos in the friary (1445) that are at once the expression of and a guide to the spiritual life of the community. Many of the frescos are in the friars' cells and were intended as aids to devotion; with their immaculate coloring, their economy in drawing and composition, and their freedom from the accidents of time and place, they attain a sense of blissful serenity.
In the last decade of his life Angelico also worked in Orvieto and Perugia, and most importantly in Rome, where he frescoed the private chapel of Pope Nicholas V in the Vatican with Scenes from the Lives of SS. Stephen and Lawrence (1450). These differ considerably from the S. Marco frescos, with new emphasis on the story and on circumstantial detail, bringing Angelico more clearly into the mainstream of 15th-century Italian fresco painting.
Angelico died in Rome and was buried in the church of S. Maria sopra Minerva, where his tombstone still exists. His most important pupil was Benozzo Gozzoli and he had considerable influence on Italian painting. His particular grace and sweetness stimulated the school of Perugia, and Fra Bartolommeo, who followed him into the Convento di S. Marco in 1500, had something of his restraint and grandeur. Vasari, who referred to Fra Giovanni as a simple and most holy man, popularized the use of the name Angelico for him, but he says it is the name by which he was always known, and it was certainly used as early as 1469. The painter has long been called Beato Angelico, but his beatification was not made official by the Vatican until 1984.
The Meeting of St. Francis and St. Dominic (1430, 26x27cm) Noli Me Tangere (1441, 180x146cm)