Bio -
Fra Angelico was born around 1395 in a village northeast of Florence and settled in Florence in 1417 where he trained as a manuscript illuminator. Fra Angelico's most important early commissions were for Dominican churches and convents in Tuscany and Umbria. By the early 1430's he was working for non-Dominican patrons as well and had begun to receive major commissions from prestigious clients. In 1984, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II who proclaimed him patron saint of artists. Fra Angelico is buried in Rome at the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.

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The current restoration of the Chapel of Nicholas V has magnificently recovered the exceptional beauty of the frescoes and gives us the opportunity to understand and appreciate the great genius of one of Christianity's finest painters, Fra Angelico.  It is thanks to the generosity and vision of the Homeland Foundation and the New York Patrons that this important restoration has been made possible.

Fra Angelico probably began the decoration of the Chapel of Nicholas V in 1448 and may have completed it by 1449, which marked the initiation of a period in the Vatican of embellishment and renovation that was continuous until the sack of Rome by the troops of Charles V in 1527. In the chapel, he painted scenes from the life of Saint Stephen, the first martyr of the Church of Jerusalem, and St. Lawrence, the first martyr of the Church of Rome.  Alongside these frescoes, Fra Angelico painted eight full-length figures of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. On the ceiling, he painted the four Evangelists with golden stars on a blue background.

The chapel has been restored by world-renowned restorer, Carlo Giantomassi, his wife, Donatella Zari, and their assistants. The restoration involved the cleaning of all the frescoes. A major challenge was the restoration of the original blue color, which had been lost due to previous restorations. Subtle movements of the walls throughout the centuries had also created cracks that were refilled in the past. These had to be controlled to insure that they were not causing damage to the frescoes. Fire damage and vandalism are evident in some areas and remain as a testimony to the sack of Rome in 1527 by the mercenaries of Charles V.