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Fra Angelico Biography for Kids

Image with several other images on it. At the top is a painting of buildings and a man with a halo standing above a group of people listening to him. Below this is a gold rectangle on which are the words, "Fra Angelico Biography for Kids." Below this are three more images: a painting of  a man wearing a black scarf over his head. This is a portrait of Fra Angelico. Below this is a painting of an angel in a pink and blue robe looking at something in its hand and with a gold halo. The third image is a painting of an angel in a pink robe with a halo and wings leaning towards a young woman in a red gown and a halo around her head. They are under arches of a building.

Ciao! I am Fra Angelico, an Italian Renaissance artist who lived from 1400 to 1455.

Painting in blacks and greys of man in black robe with the hood pulled up on his head.
Fra Angelico

My name may be a bit confusing – I was named Guido by my parents, but then I became a Catholic monk, or friar, and changed my name to Giovanni, which is Italian for John. So I am Fra Giovanni or Brother John. And then some began to call me angelic, so now I am known as the angelic friar or Fra Angelico. You can call me Fra Angelico.

Let me tell you about my work as an artist. I lived in the 1400s, and at first I was an illuminator, meaning I added fancy gold letters and illustrations or pictures to manuscripts of the Bible. This gave me good practice in using gold leaf, which I later also used in my paintings.

Image of illuminated manuscript by Fra Angelico with a man in a white robe and brown cape and a halo around his head in the center with four angels on each side in white, blue, red or green gowns and with haloes. Below this scene is a giant letter I with the face of a man in a robe with a halo at each point of the I and then other letters to the side, spelling Latin words.
Illuminated manuscript called Glorification of Saint Dominic by Fra Angelico

Then when I moved to the Friary of San Marcos in Florence…

Image of a white building with arches around a courtyard.
San Marco Monastery

…I had the opportunity to decorate the walls of each monk’s cell with my paintings, such as this painting of the angel Gabriel visiting Mary to tell her she would be the mother of Jesus.

Painting of an angel in a pink robe with colorful wings and a halo facing a young woman with a halo  who is seated and wearing a gold and blue dress. They are sitting among arches.
Annunciation 1443 from San Marco by Fra Angelico

I painted frescoes. Frescoes are when you paint on plaster that is still wet. I always painted scenes from the Bible or of saints.

Painting of the right profile of an angel in a pink and gold gown with gold and black wings, blond hair and a halo. This painting is called Archangel Gabriel Annunciate 1433 by Fra Angelico.
Archangel Gabriel Annunciate 1433 by Fra Angelico
Painting of man with short grey hair and grey beard and halo around his head in long red robe and holding a blue book and feather pen. This painting is called St. Mark by Fra Angelico.
St. Mark 1424 by Fra Angelico

Others say that the pictures in the monastery cells at San Marco show a humility and devotion to God. And then I had the honor of decorating a chapel at the Vatican in Rome was an honor.

Painting of the East Wall of the Chapel of the Vatican with three levels. The top section is an arch under which is a building in the center with a few men in robes grabbing a man in a black robe with a halo and on the other side men throwing stones at a man. These are scenes from the stoning of Stephen. The middle level shows men facing the right side as a man is laid to rest. The lowest level is a wall and door. The painting is by Fra Angelico.
View of the East Wall of the Chapel of the Vatican 1449 by Fra Angelico

But it is more important to me to honor and be with Christ, for he who illustrates the acts of Christ should be with Christ. Indeed,
“When singing my praise, don’t liken my talents to those of Apelles.
Say, rather, that, in the name of Christ, I gave all I had to the poor.
The deeds that count on Earth are not the ones that count in Heaven.
I, Giovanni, am the flower of Tuscany.”

Painting of a group of men in colored robes throwing stones at a kneeling man in a green and orange robe with a halo. This is called The Stoning of Stephen 1449 by Fra Angelico.
The Stoning of Stephen 1449 by Fra Angelico

Here’s what you should remember about me.

  • My name is Fra Angelico and I lived from 1400 to 1455.
  • I am an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance and a friar.
  • I painted frescoes and religious paintings.
  • I used bright colors and gold leaf.
Painting of a young woman with blond hair and a halo in a pink dress with gold trim and a blue and yellow cape and with her arms crossed and holding a red and gold book in her left hand. This painting is called Virgin Mary Annunciate 1433 by Fra Angelico.
Virgin Mary Annunciate 1433 by Fra Angelico
Image of a mockup of a computer screen with the image of a man with a brown monk tunic with the top of his head shaved next to a green paint swish with the words over it saying, "Investigating Fra Angelico." Below the main computer screen are pages from the unit study and two sprial bound books. Next to the sprial books are an arrow and the words on the left side which say Teacher Notes and an arrow and the words on the right side which say Student Activity Pack.

Investigate the life and art works of Fra Angelico in this artist unit study!

Watch the video about me too!


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