Talk:Fra Angelico

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Former featured article candidateFra Angelico is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
September 29, 2007Featured article candidateNot promoted


Foolishly put up too many FACs simutaneously! Too much work to do!Amandajm 07:07, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

A reason for this B rating on the Visual Arts scale has been requested, since the article. --Amandajm 00:37, 4 July 2007 (UTC)


is this artist "Beato Angelico"?

yes, but everyone who talks about his art other than tour guides in Florence refers to him as Fra Angelico. Of course, he had a name.
All the authors I have read in my life, with no exception, call him Beato, and presumedly they had no time for that (still respectable) job. Of course, it was mentioned he was a friar. :-)
His name was Giovanni (correctly Fra Giovanni da Fiesole), and Beato Angelico is "simply" the nickname (due to some carachteristics of his works - sense of beatitude, angels) by which he is known.
fra angelico is cool
Better: other friars too call him this way [1]
The "beato" is actually attributed to a contemporary who saw his work and said that he must be "beato" to be so talented. Can't find the source right now, but trust me, I'm writing two papers on him so I must have read it somewhere! --Cantara 03:33, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

The following sentence strikes me as sounding kind of odd, but I'm not sure of a good way to rephrase it. Someone want to take a stab at it? "According to all the accounts which have reached us, few men on whom the distinction of beatification has been conferred could have deserved it more nobly than Fra Giovanni." Airosche 13:55, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

There seems to be a mix up here as to what he was called at what date.

  • Beato isn't his name. It is a title given by the Vatican on the way to Sainthood. It simply means "blessed". He didn't officially get "Beato" until the 20thC. (But I am not disputing that one of his contemporaries might have suggested that he was "blessed" ie specifically gifted by God. Several artists were frequently honoured with the title unofficially- Andrea del Sarto, Raphael and remarkably (given the state of his private life) Michelangelo. (But never Caravaggio)
  • He was known as Father John from Fiesole. Fra Giovanni di Fiesole.
  • Within a short time of his death, and possibly even before it, his contemporaries were calling him "Il Angelico". Vasari writing a hundred years later calls him Fra Giovanni Angelico, so it had become by that date part of his established name, in the same way as Lozenzo dei Medici was known as Lorenzo il Magnifico or an English-speaking person would say Richard the Lionheart or (more recently) Albert the Good.

--Amandajm 00:03, 2 July 2006 (UTC)


Fra Angelico is in no way a "gothic" painter. Look at the architecture in his work! Look at the colors! The drapery! The stylized faces! Anyway, I'm changing his categorization and taking him off the list at Gothic art. --Cantara 03:33, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, Cantara, If you look at the work of Late Gothic painters you see that FraAngelico merges with them seamlessly. There is no boundary line that he could cross, or even stand upon. Giotto, for example, is regarded by many as the first Renaissance painter, but he was followed by a hundred years of Gothic painters some of whom were very Gothic indeed. Fra Angelico fits very much into what we know as "International Gothic". If you are still around to do it, can I suggest that you put him right back on the Gothic list, as well as the Renaissance list.

--Amandajm 00:03, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

I must speak up again in defense of his classification of Renaissance. International Gothic style may have continued after the black death killed off most of Giotto's followers but we are refering more so to the time he lived in rather than his style. Additionally, observe his work more. He does blue skies as well as gold skies, he goes between both styles as he progresses. The works in the Met Museum show his attention to anatomical detail and his knowledge of rudimentary perspective. 23:48, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Date of birth[edit]

Are we sure of his date of birth? I get 1387 from Find-A-Grave. Lincher 20:02, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Well your source is completely wrong! Anyone with any knowledge about Angelico knows that date is impossible. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:39, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Recent clean-up work[edit]

I've made some fairly extensive edits, particularly in the section now called "style", which I would be very glad if someone would look over. I was primarily attempting to reduce/remove the POV writing in that section, as well as the first-person voice. I might have gone too far, or not far enough, and welcome any input from other editors. Cantara 00:19, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Re my edits

Hi Cantara

The little problem of POV. There is a very llarge slab of this article that has been lifted from the Britanniica aand has been written by someone who should have knownn better but obviously didn't. The Brittanica writer who has done the Early Renaissance painters does not like Early Renaissance ppainting. That is obvious by all the slabs that have been incorporated into articles by well-meaning wikis. In this case, the writer goes to ridiculous extremes. Its all POV stuff, but written with great authority, annd its very "put-downish" to the millions who love the Blessed Angelico. Gotta be rewritten, from scratch! and I'm gunna do it. As iit is, it is absolutely useless to anyone who might consult Wikipedia for information.

The approach in this material is judgemental rather than either analytical or explanatory. Its no use to anybody, but it takes courage and determination to get rid of it. In many ways I think it's better to have only a little bit of material than to have a great wedge that is biased or missleading.

--Amandajm 00:03, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Britannica POV[edit]

I am putting here for the benefit of those who don't want to bother searching the history, a quotation which is part of the Britannica article, to make clear why I removed it. It is verbose, pompous, bombastistic B.S. It is also consciously and deliberately insulting of anyone who who enjoys Fra Angelico's works.

Moreover, the passage "detachment from secular worries and turmoil" is intrinsically wrong, as a great number of Fra Angelico's works deal with death, grief, pain and despair.

"The "pietistic" quality of Fra Angelico's work is in fact its predominant characteristic. The faces of his figures have an air of rapt suavity, devotional fervency and beaming esoteric consciousness, which is intensely attractive to some minds and realizes beyond rivalry a particular ideal— that of ecclesiastical saintliness and detachment from secular worry and turmoil. It should not be denied that he did not always escape the pitfalls of such a method of treatment, the faces becoming sleek and prim, with a smirk of sexless religiosity which hardly eludes the artificial or even the hypocritical; because of this, there are some who are not moved by his work. Even so, Fra Angelico is a notable artist within his sphere,......."

--Amandajm 06:06, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Aritistic legacy[edit]

I've rewritten this. It obviously wasn't clear enough for readers to make the right connections, in the light of the previous statement about the effect of major commissions and wealthy clients on an artwork. Perhaps the person who deleted the material knows little about Michelangelo and was unaware of the fact that the Sistine Chapel paintings were a radical break with tradition.

The paragraph ended up as being a mere list of four names showing only an historical connection but eliminating any indication of a stylistic connection which is the significant matter, in a paragraph entitled, Artistic legacy. I hope that it is now clear and that people will look at the four pictures in the gallery below, in the light of what is written, in order to comprehend the content.

--Amandajm 01:13, 28 July 2006 (UTC)


Angelico assimilates elements of both styles, having trained under Lorenzo Monaco (Italian Gothic), having been brought up around the work of the successful Gentile da Fabriano (International Gothic) and having been introduced to the new style of Masaccio. Ultimately, however, he is a Renaissance painter.

Not wanting to split hairs over this, I would also include him among the International Gothic painters, if only for the Last Judgement in the National Gallery, London. But yes, ultimately he was a Renaissance painter. --Amandajm 14:56, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Name according to the Roman Martyrology[edit]

I was just looking him up in the Roman Martyrology in the completely revamped edition of 2001 and couldn't find him in the index under Ioannes de (or da) Fiesole Eventually I found him by looking up the date of his death (the Mrtyrology groups Saints and Blesseds by day of death, it is meant for daily recitation, it is not strictly speaking a reference work). Anyway I included the name for folks like me. DShould save nanoseconds. Mind you I don't hold out much hope for its survival. --Stroika 21:46, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Acts of charity/mercy[edit]

I'm uncertain where this comes from but I have heard that when an outbreak of the plague came to a city/village he was in, he was amongst the few who stayed and comforted the sick and dying and as a result, this is treated as one of the Miracles he is attributed to. Has anyone else encountered a source on this? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:54, 29 March 2007 (UTC).

Stupid mindless vandalism[edit]

Back on Feb 7th 07 a bloody minded vandal removed ten years from the godd friar's biography. The page has been editted umpteen times since then. Readers and eiditors have happily made a giant leap from Early Years to Vatican and in the process they have dotted and i and added a comma and never noticed commented that a critical section of the man's life had gone!! I flabbergasted.

The reason it wasn't picked up was that someone followed it up with a "minor" vandalism..."Fra Angelico rulez" or something equally daft. The nnext editor fixed the minor on, and didn't notice the major one, moreover the "fix" masked the fact that the majjor vandalism had taken place.

This has probably happened to other articles as well. can editors bbe alert to it?

--Amandajm 00:02, 4 July 2007 (UTC)


In the evaluation section I do not see the point of the first and third subsections- background and contemporaries. The first states that he existed in a time of change for painters, citing Giotto and Giusto de' Menabuoi, but does not explain how Angelico fits into this context. It hints at the stylistic debates already mentioned here about whether or not he was a renaissance painter but inadequately explains the relationship between these earlier artists and Angelico. Its a bit like saying "Leonardo Da Vinci was a painter. Fra Angelico was an earlier painter." as if this qualifies it. The Contemporaries bit has the same failings.

I am quite interested in how he is influenced by other artists who informed his style, but feel that this is not very well explained here. I haven't really edited much on here before so would like to know whether this is justifiable criticism, and whether a deeper discussion about his influences here is inappropriate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dtrui tyfljk (talkcontribs) 13:35, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

Influences on Fra Angelico[edit]

I think it is all there, actually, but divided by separate headings. What is being said is that from 1300-1400 there was Giotto, his contemporaries and those that he influenced. These painters worked major commissions. The commission to paint a major fresco cycle, or a major altarpiece affected their work in certain ways- they were constrained to please the patron. Altarpieces have certain characteristics.

Around 1400 we have two movements- naturalism, (Masaccio); Internatonal Gothic (Fabriano). Fra Angelico sits somewhere between the two.

Then it goes on to say that when constrained by a major commission, Fra Angelico's style has more elements of International Gothic than when he is working more independently. It is thought that the paintings in the cells at San Marcos may have been influenced by the wealthy Medici patron, Cosimo. But they do not reflect the usual trends in "patron driven" painting of the period, ie. they are very plain, simple, naturalistic and take a step in the direction ultimately brought to fulfilment in the Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, where Mighty Mick eschewed crowded scenes, brocade robes, lapis lazuli and gold edges in favour of a story broadly told in large figures. Amandajm 14:24, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

Self portrait[edit]

Is there a source or cite to support the claim that the figure in the Deposition is a self-portrait? If this is indeed a traditionally accepted interpretation, then some documentary evidence must be available. JNW (talk) 18:47, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

  • You should ask Amandajm about that. I wanted to use this but Amandajm didn't believe it authentic, despite its use in books and articles as a portrait of Angelico. If what is currently in the article is truly a self-portrait, it would be better than a posthumous painting, but I, like you, would have liked authentication. --JaGa (talk) 23:16, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
I've perused the discussion on JaGa's talk page. The attribution of this [2] portrait by Signorelli as being of Fra Angelico definitely pre-dates the publication by Creighton Gilbert of 2002. It does not necessarily contradict portrayals that may represent the artist at a more advanced age. As for the current image, it may well be a self-portrait, but it is not unreasonable to anticipate a published source. JNW (talk) 01:48, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
I'll see what I can turn up. But probably not until after Christmas. Otherwise, we use the Signorelli. Amandajm (talk) 15:19, 22 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I could not find a reference, otherwise I would have done it. JNW (talk) 21:35, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Artistic Legacy not a good fit for Fra Angelico article[edit]

Why is this paragraph in an article about Fra Angelico?

When Michelangelo took up the Sistine Chapel commission, he was working within a space that had already been extensively decorated by other artists. Around the walls the Life of Christ and Life of Moses were depicted by a range of artists including his teacher Ghirlandaio, Raphael’s teacher Perugino and Botticelli. They were works of large scale and exactly the sort of lavish treatment to be expected in a Vatican commission, vying with each other in complexity of design, number of figures, elaboration of detail and skilful use of gold leaf. Above these works stood a row of painted Popes in brilliant brocades and gold tiaras. None of these splendours have any place in the work which Michelangelo created. Michaelangelo, when asked by Pope Julius II to ornament the robes of the Apostles in the usual way, responded that they were very poor men.

It's interesting, but it doesn't really have a place here. Perhaps there should be an article devoted to the history of Vatican-commissioned art. But this intrudes on Angelico's space. I'd like to at least remove the Michelangelo paragraph that doesn't even mention Angelico, and perhaps the entire Artistic Legacy section. Comments? (And yes, I've read the Artistic Legacy section above.) --JaGa (talk) 10:19, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

I wrote it. I tend to agree. I think drawing the line from Fra Angelico to Michelangelo inthe way it has been done is probably OR. Why don't you chop it up a bit? Amandajm (talk) 10:40, 25 February 2008 (UTC)


The reference to the liqueur which is named in Fra Angelico's honour is quite out of place in the biography section. In what sense is it biographical? Frankly, it looks ridiculous there. I see from the edit history that it is the orphaned remnant of a now-defunct Trivia section. I suggest that, if the reference is to be retained at all (and I really think such trivia-type stuff should simply be removed), it should be simply a one-line entry with link under "See also" (I see there is already a link there to someone who was named after Fra Angelico, so I suppose there is precedent). Vilĉjo (talk) 12:33, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Recent edit, name confusion[edit]

Looking for consensus re: this recent edit: [3], which, though good faith and possibly factual, results in inconsistency of name throughout article. Let's stick with the name from the title, which is what he's known as popularly. I'm hesitant to revert the entire edit and undo everything, and would appreciate input from others. (talk) 02:11, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

While it would be accurate to note the names that he was born with and the names he acquired over time as he moved and changed stations in life, I 100% agree that the default name here should be "Fra Angelico". Let me give you some reasons...
Who do you think would be the authoritative source on the correct use of his name in English? I can think of two sources: (1) the Vatican itself, and (2) the Dominican Order (of which Fra Angelico was a member). So how do these two organizations refer to him?
Do a search at the Vatican website, and you will get several dozen hits in English (ignoring the other languages, which ALSO refer to him as Fra Angelico). For example: "Fra Angelico and the Chapel of Nicholas V" "Fra Angelico- San Marco, Florence" "...the magnificent frescoes of Fra Angelico in the Chapel of Nicholas V."
Now do a search on Blessed John or John of Fiesole or whatever, and after you have cleared away all the false hits, you get one valid hit:
This one reference at the Vatican website is to the title of a homily: "Blessed John of Fiesole" - "Homily Preached at Saint Mark's Basilica in Florence - Blessed John of Fiesole - Fra Angelico" (February 18, 2004). However, this is a literal translation of the title of a homily actually given in Italian: "OMELIA DI S.E. MONS. MAURO PIACENZA". The painter is referred to in several ways in the Italian text: "Fra Giovanni da Fiesole", "Guido di Pietro di Dino", "Beato Giovanni", "Beato Angelico", even "Fra Angelico", and there is no clear reason here why we should prefer one over the other.
The Dominican Order
The official website of the Dominican Order (of which Fra Angelico was a member) states that he was born Guido da Vicchio (that's interesting), and says "We have few personal details of the life of the young man from Vicchio, whose name in religion was Brother John of the Angels, and who was to be known to history as Fra Angelico."
Note also the "The [Dominican Institute for the Arts] DIA award is named after the best-known artist of the Dominican Order, the 15TH century Florentine Painter, Giovanni da Fiesole, known to the art world as Fra Angelico because of his talent for depicting spectacular angels."
Again, upon search, the Dominican website refers to him more as "Fra Angelico" than anything else.
Also note that Wikipedia itself also refers to him as Fra Angelico in the article on the Dominican Order.
Other sources such as the Catholic Encyclopedia ( also refer to him more as Fra Angelico than any other name.
So, I think we have to go with the Dominicans on this one..."whose name in religion was Brother John of the Angels, and who was to be known to history as Fra Angelico" - while "Brother John of the Angels" might be technically correct (at least, not incorrect), referring to the painter by a name that most people are unfamiliar with (including me, who lived in Italy and saw some of his work first hand) wouldn't seem prudent for an encyclopedia that is trying to be helpful...or, to put it another way, "who are we to refer to him as Blessed John when even the Vatican normally doesn't?"
William J. 'Bill' McCalpin (talk) 02:51, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Fra Angelico's main claim to fame is as an artist. Referring to him as Brother John is inappropriate. We don't refer to Leonardo as Leonard or Botticelli as "Little Tub"! However, some of the edits need to stay. I'll sift through them. Amandajm (talk) 11:36, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
I reverted all the changes to his name, and changes to a quotation (which one just cannot do). But I returned corrections such as "monastery" to "friary" etc. Amandajm (talk) 11:59, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

It is common to retain the name of historical figures in the language which they spoke (cf. Leonardo vs. Leonard) as Amandajm points out. When referring to saints, however, it is standard to render their names in the English equivalent (so we say "St. John of God", not "Juan de Dios". Since this article is listed as one in the saint category and not that of artist, I felt it appropriate to apply this same standard to his name.Daniel the Monk (talk) 03:45, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Although over the years I've probably made a few edits here, I freely admit to being a bystander to this discussion, I concur with preference for the continued use of the name Fra Angelico throughout...Modernist (talk) 04:30, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Modernist, above: Fra Angelico, for better or for worse, is his name pretty much across the languages. Blessed John or Brother John is not much of an identifier for most people, even those in the business. Drmies (talk) 04:56, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
Daniel, I think you are missing the point. By your logic, we should go over to the Italian Wikipedia article on Fra Angelico and change all the references to "Fra Giovanni" (Brother John). The problem is that even in the Italian article, by far the most common way that the Italians who edited this article refer to him is " l'Angelico ", not Fra Giovanni or anything else. Yes, they do begin the article with an explanation of the history of his name, and they slip into "Fra Giovanni" once or twice after that, but after the first few paragraphs, it's l'Angelico all the way.
If the Italians don't refer to him normally as Fra Giovanni, why should we refer to him as Brother John? It would be like changing the article on Cary Grant to always refer to him as "Archibald Alexander Leach" just wouldn't make sense. For better or for worse, "Fra Angelico" is how people refer to him - even at the Vatican, as you saw above...
William J. 'Bill' McCalpin (talk) 05:45, 20 February 2010 (UTC)


Hi, can't tell who did the caption for the inset picture from San Marco but the text is wrong. It says it's a "predella panel to surmount an altarpiece" but in fact predella panels go at the BOTTOM of altarpieces, so something is wrong. I don't know how to fix captions with the setup here, so if someone else could do something about that it would be best. Probably the text should read "predella panel set below the altarpiece."Dellaroux (talk) 20:37, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

Thank you! No, the "above" bit was correct, the "predella" bit was wrong. Amandajm (talk) 01:27, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Critique on Citation Usage and Neutrality[edit]

Overall a decent article.

I suggest more citations in the last section titled "Discovery of Lost Works," regarding the November 2006 discovery of the works and the prices initially paid for them. also citation is needed for the reference to the Spanish Forger.

For the neutrality issue, the section "The Vatican 1445-1455" has opinionated statements about Fra Angelico being commissioned by two different Popes. If you are going to do this, state the generally accepted view among the art historical scholarly community, and in the footnotes/reference section, cite other works which have conflicting views. That way both ideas are presented and you are not exhibiting favor to one particular theory or the other. SMANNING (talk) 06:16, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

Validity of Rossetti quote?[edit]

The quote supporting his canonization (near the end) cites the the Order of Preachers website. There it's attributed to Rossetti (d. 1919) but is written as if the canonization is imminent (beatified 1982). Was Fra Angelico's canonization being considered back in the early 1900's? There's no mention of it in Rossetti's EB1911 contribution. Is the attribution in "Order of Preachers" valid, spurious, or paraphrased? David Brooks (talk) 21:02, 29 June 2017 (UTC) - ETA: I think the other two references to the "Order of Preachers" cite are also not actually Rossetti. David Brooks (talk) 21:06, 29 June 2017 (UTC)

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