Gaining Perspective

Fra Angelico at the Met

In the 1430s, when the Florentine painter Fra Angelico was at the peak of his career, he composed a three-panel painting of the Last Judgment. The left panel, Paradise, shows angels dancing through a flowering meadow as they lead the redeemed toward paradise. There is a soaring of the spirit in this lyrical painting. Heaven is seen as a great dance that all the faithful are invited to attend. Standing before this work one wants to dance and kneel at the same time....

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About the Author


Leo J. O’Donovan, SJ, a frequent contributor to Commonweal, is president emeritus of Georgetown University.