Beato Angelico

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Guido, or Guidolinus, son of Peter, was born in Tuscany c.1400 and as a young man studied to be a painter. However, being attracted to the religious life, he joined the Order of Preachers with his brother Benedict at the priory of Fiesole, which had recently been set up for regular observance by Blessed John Dominic, whose name he took along with the habit in 1420. After ordination he was twice vicar and later elected prior of that priory. In addition to his contemplation of sacred truth in prayer and study, he shared with his brethren and with the faithful his heavenly artistic gifts. He painted many altarpieces at Fiesole between 1425 and 1438. Then in Florence, the prior of San Marco, St Antoninus, asked him to decorate the cloister, chapter room, cells and corridors of the priory with frescoes, which he executed between 1439 and 1445. Eugenius IV then summoned him to Rome to paint two chapels in St Peter’s and in the Vatican palace. At the command of Nicholas V, who revered him for the integrity of his life, he decorated the Pope’s private chapel and chamber between 1445 and 1449. He also worked in the priory of St Dominic at Cortona in 1438 and the cathedral in Orvieto in 1447. When St Antoninus was offered the archiepiscopate of Florence by Eugenius IV, Blessed John was instrumental in persuading him to accept this honour. He died a holy and peaceful death in Rome at the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva on 18 February 1455, where his marble tomb is to this day. Blessed John was a simple and upright man, poor and humble; in his art he showed himself both devout and angelic, and so is rightly everywhere called Blessed Angelico. For the sake of the promotion of sacred art Pope John Paul II confirmed his cult for the whole Order of Preachers on 3 October 1982, and he is the patron saint of artists. This stained glass detail of Fra Angelico is from the west window of the former Dominican priory church at Hawkesyard in Stafforshire. 18 February is his feast day.

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Fonte: Lawrence OP

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