FRA ANGELICO

THE MYSTERY OF FRA ANGELICO.
I have read about Fra Angelico, whose real name was Guido di Pietro. An early Italian Renaissance painter who lived circa 1400-1455. He came to St. Mark’s (San Marco) Convent in Florence where he painted several frescoes; the most famous of them is the Annunciation. His works and his pure life gave him the nickname, Angelico. He quickly became well-known, and he was invited to work at the Vatican in Rome. We went to the convent, which is a museum now, open daily but for some holidays and days off. It is better to check the schedule online before going for a visit. One can look into every monk’s cell, and see the frescoes. The first impression is that of light. How did he manage to do it? Every painting is a masterpiece of colors and that amazing light which seems to shine from within. Fra Angelico painted only religious themes, yet all the people in his frescoes look real, and the surroundings are recognizable. Once we saw the very first painting, we understood why the other monks wanted to have similar ones in their tiny cells, and also why Fra Angelico was invited to Rome. Seeing the cells, we understood how ascetic life was. Tiny rooms, really cells, with bare walls but for those magnificent frescoes, little windows, narrow cots. There is also a huge library of manuscripts with lovely illuminations, colorful illustrations made by Fra Angelico and his comtemporaries. One can walk around the cloister yard, looking at the evergreens, and try to imagine life as it was six hundred years ago. We also saw that rare event, a sort of snowfall: when we went into the yard, the air sort of shimmered and blurred. Large fluffy snowflakes swirled in the air for about ten seconds, but they didn’t even reach the ground.
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