The great Dominican artist was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II, who declared him the patron saint of artists.

Fra Giovanni da Fiesole, or Fra Angelico (1395-1455), was a Dominican friar and gifted artist of the early Renaissance. Known as “the Angelic Painter,” he created many magnificent works of religious art that adorn churches and religious houses in Italy. Among his most famous works are the Annunciation and Descent from the Cross. His feast day is Feb. 18. 

Fra Angelico was born in Rome and joined a Dominican community known for its strict observances in 1420. He began his career as an artist illustrating manuscripts and choir books. To him, to paint was to pray, and he began each artistic endeavor begging God to bless his work. He painted only religious art and never went back to touch up or alter his work.

His talent was quickly recognized, and he was asked to paint interiors of convents and churches. His earliest works were done in Cortona during his novitiate, painting frescos, most of which no longer exist today. He continued his work at Fiesole and Florence.

His best-known pieces include an altarpiece, preserved in the National Gallery of