The portrait below is Fra Angelico's The naming of John the Baptist. I added it in cerebrition of the Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist last Sunday.
LUKE 1:57-66, 80
When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?”
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
New American Bible
Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist
Fra Angelico was born in1400 with the lay name of Guido di Pietro. He was a Florentine painter and a Dominican friar. Although a highly professional artist, Angelico was not seen as an “artist properly so-called but an inspired saint.” However, he was in fact in touch with the most advanced developments in contemporary Florentine art and in later life was known to have traveled widely for prestigious commissions. It was thought that his artist career was the influence of the International Gothic period, which was an infusion of Italian and Northern European art throughout Europe at the end of the 14th century.
Angelico lived in S. Domenico in Fiesole during most of his career and in 1450, he became the Prior there, but his most famous works was painted at S. Marco in Florence. S. Marco is a Sylvestrine monastery, which was taken over by his Order in 1436 and is today an Angelico museum. From 1438 through 1445, he and his assistants painted about fifty frescos, which in the friary that are the expression of and a guide to the serenity and spiritual life within their community. Many of these frescos were painted within the friars cells or sleeping quarters.
In the last decade of his life, Angelico also worked in Orvieto, Perugia, and later in Rome, where he frescoed the private chapel of Pope Nicholas V in the Vatican. Angelico died in 1455 in Rome. He was buried in the church of S. Maria sopra Minerva, where his tombstone still exists. Within the ‘Church’ Angelico ‘The painter’ has long been called ‘Beato Angelico’ (the Blessed Angelico), but his beatification was not made official by the Vatican until 1984.
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