The Virgin and Child with Sts Dominic and Thomas Aquinas

Fra Angelico

The Virgin and Child with Sts Dominic and Thomas Aquinas

We are grateful to be able to adorn our sanctuary with a handpainted replica of Fra Angelico ... check back each week for new information about this piece of Sacred Art!

This fresco comes from the monastery of San Domenico da Fiesole, where Fra Angelico, a Dominican monk, was prior.  After the monastery was closed in the 19th century this fresco was removed and sold to a Russian of quality who bought the work for 46,000 liras.  Although it suffered considerable due to a restoration undertaken in the 1840s, this painting can be counted among the master's best works.  It pictures the infant standing on the knees of Mary, a veil only covering him very lightly.  Source

The symmetrical composition, with the Madonna enthroned and surrounded by saints, developed in the medieval period and became widespread in Italian 15th Century painting.  To the left of Mary is St. Dominic, founder of the Dominican Order, holding a lily, the symbol of purity.  To the right is the great theologian St. Thomas Aquinas, and on the pages of the book he is holding we can read the text of the Psalms.  Unlike the saints, who are given individual features and character, the image of the version is greatly idealized.  It is her inspired imaged which gives the painting its mood of sublime lyricism.  Source

1) The Virgin Mary is depicted as the Sedes Sapentiae, Seat of Wisdom, for this reason she is proportionately larger than Sts. Thomas and Dominic and takes on the form of the chair or seat.  

2) The detail in the faces of Sts. Thomas and Dominic depict natural ware and elements.  The detail in the faces of the Virgin Mary and the child Jesus are absent grainy detail and are smoothed to depict a type of glorified perfection. 

 
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