Filippo Lippi

Filippo Lippi

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Fra' Filippo Lippi (c. 1406 – 8 October 1469), also called Lippo Lippi, was an Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 painter of the Italian Quattrocento
Quattrocento
The cultural and artistic events of 15th century Italy are collectively referred to as the Quattrocento...

 (15th century).

Biography and works


Lippi was born in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 to Tommaso, a butcher. Both his parents died when he was still a child. Mona Lapaccia, his aunt, took charge of the boy. In 1420 he was registered in the community of the Carmelite friars of the Carmine in Florence
Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence
Santa Maria del Carmine is a church of the Carmelite Order, in the Oltrarno district of Florence, in Tuscany, Italy. It is famous as the location of the Brancacci Chapel housing outstanding Renaissance frescoes by Masaccio and Masolino da Panicale, later finished by Filippino Lippi.-History:The...

, where he remained until 1432, taking the Carmelite vows in 1421 when he was sixteen. In his Lives of the Artists, Vasari
Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari was an Italian painter, writer, historian, and architect, who is famous today for his biographies of Italian artists, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing.-Biography:...

 says: "Instead of studying, he spent all his time scrawling pictures on his own books and those of others." The prior decided to give him the opportunity to learn painting.

Eventually Fra Filippo quit the monastery, but it appears he was not released from his vows; in a letter dated 1439 he describes himself as the poorest friar of Florence, charged with the maintenance of six marriageable nieces. In 1452 he was appointed chaplain to the convent of S. Giovannino in Florence, and in 1457 rector (Rettore Commendatario) of S. Quirico in Legania, and made occasional, considerable profits; but his poverty seems chronic, his money being spent, according to one account, in frequent amours.

Vasari relates Lippi's visits to Ancona
Ancona
Ancona is a city and a seaport in the Marche region, in central Italy, with a population of 101,909 . Ancona is the capital of the province of Ancona and of the region....

 and Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, his capture by Barbary pirates and enslavement in Barbary, where his skill in portrait-sketching helped to release him. From 1431 to 1437 his career is not accounted for.

In June 1456 Fra Filippo is recorded as living in Prato
Prato
Prato is a city and comune in Tuscany, Italy, the capital of the Province of Prato. The city is situated at the foot of Monte Retaia , the last peak in the Calvana chain. The lowest altitude in the comune is 32 m, near the Cascine di Tavola, and the highest is the peak of Monte Cantagrillo...

 (near Florence) to paint frescoes in the choir of the cathedral. In 1458, while engaged in this work, he set about painting a picture for the convent chapel of S. Margherita of Prato where he met Lucrezia Buti, the beautiful daughter of a Florentine named Francesco Buti; she was either a novice or a young lady placed under the nuns' guardianship. Lippi asked that she might be permitted to sit for the figure of the Madonna (or perhaps S. Margherita). Under that pretext, Lippi engaged in sexual relations with her, abducted her to his own house, and kept her there despite the nuns' efforts to reclaim her. The result was their son Filippino Lippi
Filippino Lippi
Filippino Lippi was an Italian painter working during the High Renaissance in Florence, Italy.-Biography:...

, who became a painter no less famous than his father. Such is Vasari's narrative, published less than a century after the alleged events.



The frescoes in the choir of the cathedral of Prato
Prato Cathedral
The Cathedral of Prato is the main Catholic church of Prato, Tuscany, Central Italy and seat of the bishop. It is dedicated to St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. It is one of the most ancient churches in the city, existing already in the 10th century and having been built and in several...

, which depict the stories of St. John the Baptist and St. Stephen on the two main facing walls, are considered Fra Filippo's most important and monumental works, particularly the figure of Salome dancing, which has clear affinities with later works by Sandro Botticelli
Sandro Botticelli
Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, better known as Sandro Botticelli was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance...

, his pupil, and Filippino Lippi
Filippino Lippi
Filippino Lippi was an Italian painter working during the High Renaissance in Florence, Italy.-Biography:...

, his son, as well as the scene showing the ceremonial mourning over Stephen's corpse. This latter is believed to contain a portrait of the painter, but there are various opinions as to which is the exact figure. On the end wall of the choir are S. Giovanni Gualberto and S. Alberto, while the vault has monumental representations of the four evangelists.

The close of Lippi's life was spent at Spoleto
Spoleto
Spoleto is an ancient city in the Italian province of Perugia in east central Umbria on a foothill of the Apennines. It is S. of Trevi, N. of Terni, SE of Perugia; SE of Florence; and N of Rome.-History:...

, where he had been commissioned to paint, for the apse of the cathedral, scenes from the life of the Virgin
Life of the Virgin
The Life of the Virgin, showing narrative scenes from the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a common subject for pictorial cycles in Christian art, often complementing, or forming part of, a cycle on the Life of Christ. In both cases the number of scenes shown varies greatly with the space...

. In the semidome of the apse is the Christ Crowning the Madonna
Coronation of the Virgin
The Coronation of the Virgin or Coronation of Mary is a subject in Christian art, especially popular in Italy in the 13th to 15th centuries, but continuing in popularity until the 18th century and beyond. Christ, sometimes accompanied by God the Father and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove,...

, with angels, sibyls and prophets
. This series, which is not wholly equal to the one at Prato, was completed by Fra Diamante
Fra Diamante
Fra Diamante was an Italian Renaissance painter.-Biography:Born at Prato, he was a Carmelite friar, a member of the Florentine community of that order, and was the friend and assistant of Filippo Lippi...

 after Lippi's death. That Lippi died in Spoleto, on or about the 8th of October 1469, is a fact; the mode of his death is a matter of dispute. It has been said that the pope granted Lippi a dispensation for marrying Lucrezia, but before the permission arrived, Lippi had been poisoned by the indignant relatives of either Lucrezia herself or some lady who had replaced her in the inconstant painter's affections.

The altarpiece Lippi painted in 1441 for the nuns of S. Ambrogio is now a prominent attraction in the Academy of Florence, and was celebrated in Browning's well-known poem. It represents the coronation of the Virgin among angels and saints, including many Bernardine monks. One of these, placed to the right, is a half-length portrait of Lippo, pointed out by the inscription perfecit opus upon an angel's scroll. The price paid for this work in 1447 was 1200 Florentine lire, which seems surprisingly large.

For Germiniano Inghirami of Prato he painted the Death of St. Bernard. His principal altarpiece in this city is a Nativity in the refectory of S. Domenico — the Infant on the ground adored by the Virgin and Joseph, between Saints George and Dominic, in a rocky landscape, with the shepherds playing and six angels in the sky. In the Uffizi is a fine Virgin adoring the infant Christ, who is held by two angels; in the National Gallery, London
National Gallery, London
The National Gallery is an art museum on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The gallery is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media...

, a Vision of St Bernard. The picture of the Virgin and Infant with an Angel, in this same gallery, also ascribed to Lippi, is disputable.

Filippo Lippi died in 1469 while working on the frescoes of Scenes of the life of the Virgin Mary, 1467–1469 in the apse of the Spoleto Cathedral. The Frescos show the Annunciation, the Funeral, the Adoration of the Child and the Coronation of the Virgin. A group of bystanders at the Funeral includes a self-portrait of Lippi together with his son Filippino and his helpers Fra Diamante
Fra Diamante
Fra Diamante was an Italian Renaissance painter.-Biography:Born at Prato, he was a Carmelite friar, a member of the Florentine community of that order, and was the friend and assistant of Filippo Lippi...

 and Pier Matteo d'Amelia. Lippi was buried on the right side of the transept, with a monument commissioned by Lorenzo de' Medici and executed by his son Filippino and others; he had always been zealously patronized by the Medici family, beginning with Cosimo de' Medici
Cosimo de' Medici
Còsimo di Giovanni degli Mèdici was the first of the Medici political dynasty, de facto rulers of Florence during much of the Italian Renaissance; also known as "Cosimo 'the Elder'" and "Cosimo Pater Patriae" .-Biography:Born in Florence, Cosimo inherited both his wealth and his expertise in...

. Francesco di Pesello (called Pesellino) and Sandro Botticelli
Sandro Botticelli
Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, better known as Sandro Botticelli was an Italian painter of the Early Renaissance...

 were among his most distinguished pupils.

Selected works

  • Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints (c. 1430) - Panel, 43,7 x 34,3 cm, Museo Diocesano, Empoli
    Empoli
    Empoli is a town and comune in Tuscany, Italy, about 20 km southwest of Florence, to the south of the Arno in a plain formed by the latter river. The plain has been usable for agriculture since Roman times. The commune's territory becomes a hilly one as it departs from the river...

  • Madonna and Child Enthroned
    Madonna and Child Enthroned (Fra Lippo Lippi)
    The Madonna and Child Enthroned is a painting by the Italian Renaissance painter Filippo Lippi. It is housed in the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica of Palazzo Barberini, Rome....

     (Madonna of Tarquinia)
    (1437) -Tempera on panel, 151 x 66 cm, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica
    Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica
    The Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, or National Gallery of Ancient Art, is an art gallery in Rome, Italy, located on two sites: the Palazzo Barberini and the Palazzo Corsini....

    , Rome
    Rome
    Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

  • Madonna and Child with Saints (1438) - Panel, 208 x 244 cm, The Louvre, Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

  • St. Jerome in Penance
    St. Jerome in Penance (Fra Lippo Lippi)
    The St. Jerome in Penance is a painting by the Italian Renaissance painter Filippo Lippi, dating to c. 1439. It is housed in the Lindenau-Museum of Altenburg, Germany. The work could be identified with the St. Jerome Penitent of which Lippi asked payment in a letter issued to Piero de' Medici in...

    (c. 1439) - Tempera on panel, 54 x 37 cm, Staatliches Lindenau Museum, Altenburg
    Altenburg
    Altenburg is a town in the German federal state of Thuringia, 45 km south of Leipzig. It is the capital of the Altenburger Land district.-Geography:...

  • The Annunciation with two Kneeling Donors
    The Annunciation with two Kneeling Donors (Lippi)
    The Annunciation is a painting by the Italian Renaissance painter Filippo Lippi. Dating to of 1440-45, it is housed in the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica of Palazzo Barberini, Rome....

    (c. 1440) - Oil on panel, 155 x 144 cm, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome
  • Martelli Annunciation (c. 1440) - Tempera on panel, 175 x 183 cm, San Lorenzo, Florence
  • Coronation of the Virgin (1441–1447) - Tempera on panel, 200 x 287 cm, Uffizi
    Uffizi
    The Uffizi Gallery , is a museum in Florence, Italy. It is one of the oldest and most famous art museums of the Western world.-History:...

    , Florence
    Florence
    Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

  • Annunciation
    Annunciation (Lippi, Munich)
    The Annunciation is a painting by the Italian Renaissance painter Filippo Lippi, finished around 1443-1450. It is housed in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany....

    (c. 1443-1450) - Wood, 203 x 185.3 cm, Alte Pinakothek, Munich
    Munich
    Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

  • Marsuppini Coronation (after 1444) - Tempera on panel, 172 x 251 cm, Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome
    Rome
    Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

  • Annunciation
    Annunciation (Lippi, Rome)
    The Annunciation is a painting by the Italian Renaissance painter Filippo Lippi, finished around 1445-1450. It is housed in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome....

    (1445–50) - Oil on panel, 117 x 173 cm, Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome
  • Annunciation (c. 1449–1459) - Tempera on panel, 68 x 151.5 cm, National Gallery, London
    National Gallery, London
    The National Gallery is an art museum on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The gallery is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media...

  • Seven Saints (c. 1449–1459) - Tempera on panel, 68 x 151.5 cm, National Gallery, London
    National Gallery, London
    The National Gallery is an art museum on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The gallery is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media...

  • Madonna and Child (c. 1452) - Panel, diameter 135 cm, Pitti Gallery, Florence
    Florence
    Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

  • Funeral of St. Jerome (c. 1452–1460) - Tempera on panel, 268 x 165 cm, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Prato Cathedral
    Prato Cathedral
    The Cathedral of Prato is the main Catholic church of Prato, Tuscany, Central Italy and seat of the bishop. It is dedicated to St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. It is one of the most ancient churches in the city, existing already in the 10th century and having been built and in several...

  • Feast of Herod (1452–1466) - Fresco, Prato Cathedral
    Prato Cathedral
    The Cathedral of Prato is the main Catholic church of Prato, Tuscany, Central Italy and seat of the bishop. It is dedicated to St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. It is one of the most ancient churches in the city, existing already in the 10th century and having been built and in several...

  • St. John the Baptist Bids Farewell to His Family (1452–1466) - Fresco, Cathedral of Prato
    Prato
    Prato is a city and comune in Tuscany, Italy, the capital of the Province of Prato. The city is situated at the foot of Monte Retaia , the last peak in the Calvana chain. The lowest altitude in the comune is 32 m, near the Cascine di Tavola, and the highest is the peak of Monte Cantagrillo...

     
  • Madonna del Ceppo
    Madonna del Ceppo
    The Madonna del Ceppo is a painting by the Italian Renaissance painter Filippo Lippi, commissioned to him between 1452 and 1453. It is housed in the Civic Museum of Prato, Italy...

    (c. 1452-1453) - Panel, 187 x 120 cm, Civic Museum, Prato
  • Madonna and Child (c. 1455) - Panel, Uffizi Gallery, Florence
    Florence
    Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

  • Adoration in the Forest
    Adoration in the Forest (Lippi)
    thumb|300px| "dark intensity and bursts of golden light " - [[Filippo Lippi]]'s Adoration in the ForestAdoration in the Forest is a 15th century [completed by 1459] painting by the Carmelite friar, Filippo Lippi, of the Virgin Mary and the newly born Christ Child lying on the ground, in the unusual...

    (late 1450s) - Panel, 127 x 116 cm, Staatliche Museen, Berlin
    Berlin
    Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

  • Madonna of Palazzo Medici-Riccardi
    Madonna of Palazzo Medici-Riccardi
    The Madonna of Palazzo Medici-Riccardi is a painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Filippo Lippi. It is housed in the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi of Florence, central Italy.-History:...

     (1466–1469) - Tempera on panel, 115 x 71 cm, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence
  • Scenes of the Life of Virgin Mary (1467–1469) - Fresco, apse of the Spoleto Cathedral 

External links