Filippino Lippi was born in 1457. There has been much discussion over his parentage. He is said to be the son of Fra Filippo and Lucrezia Buti. According to Vasari, Fra Filippo received a commission from the nuns of Santa Margherita to paint a picture for the high altar of their church at Prato, near Florence. In the convent was a beautiful girl, whom Fra Filippo chanced to see. She was the daughter of Francesco Buti. Fra Filippo asked the Mother Superior to allow Lucrezia to sit for the figure of the Virgin he was painting for them. (This picture is a Nativity of Christ. It was sent to Paris in 1812 and is still there.) The request was granted and the sittings began. This resulted in Fra Filippo falling in love with her, and persuading her to run away with him.
Documents have been found which go to show absolution from the monastic vows and the marriage of Fra Filippo and Lucrezia, and it may be admitted that Filippino was their son.
When he was but twenty-three he painted the Vision of St. Bernard. It is his master-piece. He died in Florence in 1505.
( Originally Published 1912 )
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