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Fra Angelico a sketch   By: (1860-)

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Fra Angelico: A Sketch by Jennie Ellis Keysor is a compelling exploration into the life and work of the Italian Renaissance painter, Fra Angelico. With her insightful storytelling and meticulous research, Keysor brings to life the enigmatic figure of Fra Angelico, shedding light on his artistic genius and his spiritual devotion.

One of the remarkable aspects of this biography is the author's ability to weave together historical facts and artistic analysis. Keysor provides a comprehensive overview of the historical context in which Fra Angelico lived, delving into the political and religious climate that greatly influenced his work. Through her vivid descriptions, we are transported to 15th century Italy, where we witness the rise of the Medici family and the flourishing of the Florentine artistic scene.

But what truly sets this book apart is Keysor's profound understanding of Fra Angelico's spiritual journey. The author delves into the painter's life as a Dominican friar, exploring how his deep faith shaped his artistic choices and subject matter. Through a close examination of his famous frescoes and altarpieces, Keysor unearths the symbolism and religious significance hidden within each brushstroke. This aspect of the biography offers a fresh perspective on Fra Angelico as a theologian, bridging the gap between his art and his devotion.

Keysor's writing style is eloquent and immersive, making the biography a pleasure to read. Her prose flows effortlessly, captivating the reader with rich descriptions and insightful anecdotes. The use of primary sources and supporting visuals, such as photographs of Fra Angelico's masterpieces, beautifully enhance the narrative, allowing the reader to fully appreciate the visual splendor of his works.

One minor drawback of the book is its brevity. At times, it feels as though certain aspects of Fra Angelico's life and career could have been explored in more depth. Nevertheless, Keysor successfully captures the essence of this artist's extraordinary talent and his profound impact on the art world.

Overall, Fra Angelico: A Sketch by Jennie Ellis Keysor is a captivating biography that not only reveals the life of an exceptional artist but also delves into the intersection between art and spirituality. Keysor's meticulous research, compelling storytelling, and profound insights make this book a must-read for art enthusiasts, history lovers, and anyone interested in exploring the depths of the human soul through the medium of art.

First Page:

" Art manifests whatever is most exalted, and it manifests it to all " TAINE





Author of "Sketches of American Authors"





"The art of Angelico, both as a colorist and a draughtsman, is consummate; so perfect and so beautiful that his work may be recognized at a distance by the rainbow play and brilliancy of it: however closely it may be surrounded by other works of the same school, glowing with enamel and gold, Angelico's may be told from them at a glance, like so many huge pieces of opal among common marbles."


"The light of his studio came from Paradise."


"His world is a strange one a world not of hills and fields and flowers and men of flesh and blood, but one where the people are embodied ecstasies, the colors tints from evening clouds or apocalyptic jewels, the scenery a flood of light or a background of illuminated gold. His mystic gardens, where the ransomed souls embrace and dance with angels on the lawns outside the City of the Lamb, are such as were never trodden by the foot of man in any paradise of earth."

"Fra Angelico's Madonnas are beings of unearthly beauty, and words fail to convey any idea of their ineffable loveliness and purity... Continue reading book >>

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