By Anne Leader
Fra Giovanni da Fiesole, known as Fra Angelico, died on 18 February 1455 in Rome. The first painter to adopt the radically new naturalism of Masaccio, Angelico dominated Florentine painting in the 1430s and 40s. His fame as a panel and fresco painter earned him commissions in Cortona, Perugia, and Rome as well as in Florence and Fiesole. In addition to his artistic career, Angelico was a Dominican friar and active in various administrative roles within his order. Vasari claimed that whenever the artist painted the Crucifixion, he shed a tear. His works certainly have a deeply moving spirituality and meditative quality that make it easy to see why he was so sought after in the first half of the fifteenth century.
Massacre of the Innocents, 1451-2, detail from the Armadio degli Argenti. Tempera on panel. Museo di San Marco, Florence
Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, 1440-2. Fresco. Convento di San Marco, Florence
The Penitent St. Jerome, 1419-20. Tempera on panel. Princeton University Art Museum, bequest of Frank Jewett Mather, Jr.
Adoration of the Magi, 1423-4. Tempera and gold on panel. Abegg-Stiftung, Berlin
St. Peter Consecrates Stephen as Deacon and St. Stephen Distributing Alms, 1447-9. Fresco. Cappella Niccolina, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican
St. Stephen Being Led to his Martyrdom and The Stoning of St. Stephen, 1447-9. Fresco. Cappella Niccolina, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican