Painter/Artist: Fra Filippo Lippi

Florentine School. Pupil of Lorenzo Monaco, and influenced by Fra Angelico, Masaccio, and Masolino. ” The greatest colourist and the most complete master of the technical difficulties in art of his time.” (C. and C.)


THE ANNUNCIATION.-In a room with a red pavement the Virgin is seated on the right in profile, bending forward, with a book in her left hand. Above her is the emblem of a radiant hand and a dove. In the centre a lily pot. On the left, in profile, on a bed of flowers, the Angel Gabriel with a lily in his left hand.

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST AND OTHER SAINTS.-Seated on a marble bench ranged across the pictures, between a background of trees against the sky and a foreground of a low hedge, are the Baptist in the centre, between (on his right) St. Cosmas leaning forward with hands outstretched, and St. Damian with hands joined in prayer. At the extreme left is St. Francis in profile, conversing with St. Lawrence; and on the extreme right St. Peter, Martyr, in profile, conversing with St. Anthony. All have golden nimbi.

Painted for Cosimo de’ Medici for the Riccardi Palace in Florence. The former presented by Sir Charles Eastlake, and the latter purchased from Mr. Alexander Barker, in 1861.


THE VIRGIN AND CHILD AND TWO SAINTS The Virgin is standing facing us in front of a throne set in the centre of a large room between two slender marble pillars. She supports the Child on her right hip. In the foreground on either side of the Virgin is a kneeling abbot (St. Frediano and St. Agostino), each with a long staff, and in the room at the sides of the throne are six angels in various postures, and on the left a monk-possibly the painter himself-leaning on a balustrade.

Painted in 1437 for the chapel of the Barbadori at San Spirito.

“One of the finest creations of Fra Filippo.” (C. and C.)

THE NATIVITY The Child lies on the ground in front of a ruined stable between the Virgin, who kneels on the left, and 5t. Joseph, who is seated on the right, with a staff and gourd beside him. The ox and the ass look out from the ruin, on which are a number of lizards and a bird. Overhead are two angels and the emblem of the dove.

“Probably painted by Pesellino under the influence of Lippi.” (C. and C.)

THE VIRGIN ADORING THE CHILD On the left a very young and beautiful mother is seated, in half profile to right, quite close to a window, the frame of which bounds the whole picture. Between her knees-of which only the right one is seen-two little angels uphold the Child between them in a sitting posture, with His hands stretched out towards His mother. Through the window is seen an expanse of landscape, with high rocks on the right. In the left foreground of the picture is the carved arm of the Virgin’s stool, with a brocaded cushion on it. She has her hands clasped, perfectly flat, in adoration, recalling, as does the whole composition, the marble bas-reliefs of Donatello and Desiderio.


THE CORONATION OF THE VIRGIN “Here the painter’s conception of the scene is strikingly original. Three rows of angels crowned with roses and holding tall white lilies stand around the throne; saints and bishops, monks and nuns mingle with little children in the crowd of worshippers below; and in the right hand, conspicuous among these splendid robes and wealth of ornament by his shaven head and Carmelite habit, is Fra Filippo himself clasping his hands devoutly, while a laughing Angel holds up a scroll with the words Ipse perfecit opus.” (Julia Cartwright-” The Painters of Florence.”)

Commissioned in 1441 by the Prior of S. Ambrogio for the sum of 1,200 lire.


THE MADONNA AND CHILD The young mother is sitting nearly facing us, at threequarter length, in a chair, with the Child seated on her left knee eating the seeds of a pomegranate, which she holds with Him in her right hand. The background represents a suite of lofty rooms, in which are figures representing both the meeting of St. Joachim and St. Anna, and the birth of the Virgin herself.

“One of the finest of Fra Filippo’s Madonnas.” (C. and C.)

Painted in 1462 for Leonardo di Bartolommeo Bartolini. The face of the Virgin is said to be that of Lucrezia Buti, the novice, whom Lippi ran away with from the convent at Prato in 1457, and ultimately married.


THE MADONNA ADORING THE CHILD In the foreground of a deep dark wood of small trees carpeted with flowers the Child lies on His back with His finger in His mouth, while the Virgin in a long light-coloured mantle kneels in adoration before Him (nearly in profile to left). At the extreme left the infant Baptist stands facing us on a ledge of rock, above whom is seen the half-length of the aged St. Bernard. In the centre overhead is the Almighty at half length, and below Him the radiant dove.

Painted for the private chapel of the Medici Palace.