- Filippino Lippi
- Prato, 1457 - Florence, 18 April 1504
- Prato, Spoleto, Florence, Lucca, San Gimignano, Rome
- Biographical information:
Born in 1457 in Prato, Filippino was the son of the painter Fra’ Filippo Lippi and the nun Lucrezia Buti. At the age of twelve, Filippino is recorded among the assistants of his father working in the Cathedral of Spoleto.
When Filippo died in 1469, Filippino was entrusted to Fra’ Diamante and moved to Florence. He entered the workshop of Filippo’s former pupil Sandro Botticelli, who in 1472 registered him in the Guild of painters dedicated to St. Luke (Compagnia di San Luca).
A decade later he received a commission from Operai di Palazzo Vecchio to decorate a wall in the Sala dei Priori, previously assigned to Perugino. The decoration of the entire room was commissioned from a number of artists (Domenico Ghirlandaio, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Biagio di Antonio and Piero del Pollaiolo) but was never executed, except for the wall towards the Dogana, or customs offices, which was frescoed by Ghirlandaio.
Around 1483 Filippino left Florence when work reasons brought him first to Lucca and then to San Gimignano.
Having returned to Florence in 1485, he completed the Scenes from the Life of St. Peter in the Brancacci chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, alongside the frescoes painted by Masaccio about sixty years earlier.
In the meantime he brought to completion two masterpieces: in 1484-85 the Vision of Saint Bernard for the altar of his friend, Piero del Pugliese, in the church of the Campora outside Porta Romana (now in the Badia Fiorentina) and the following year the Madonna and Child with Four Saints for the Sala degli Otto in Palazzo Vecchio (now at the Uffizi).
In April 1487 he signed a contract with Filippo Strozzi for the decoration of the latter’s chapel in Santa Maria Novella with Scenes from the Life of St. John the Evangelist and the Life of St. Philip. Filippino was expected to finish this commission by 1490, but in the summer of 1488 he interrupted the execution to go to Rome. In the papal city he frescoed the Carafa chapel in Santa Maria sopra Minerva, on commission from Cardinal Oliviero Carafa, to whom he had been recommended by Lorenzo il Magnifico.
When he returned to Florence in 1490, together with Perugino and Ghirlandaio Filippino painted the mythological frescoes in the Villa dello Spedaletto close to Volterra, which belonged to Lorenzo il Magnifico. In the following year, he took part in the competition for the construction of the new facade of the Duomo of Florence, most probably announced by Lorenzo il Magnifico. Around 1493 he decorated the Tanai Nerli chapel in Santo Spirito with a painting of The Madonna and Child with the Young Saint John, Martin of Tours and Catherine of Alexandria, also designing the frame of the altarpiece, which is still in place, and the stained glass no longer in existence.
Very shortly afterwards he returned to Rome where he completed the frescoes in Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, which was visited by Pope Alexander VI in 1493. At the end of his Roman sojourn he returned to Florence to work in Santa Maria Novella, with payments to him being recorded again from 1494 on. The cycle frescoed for Strozzi was concluded in 1502.
In the last years of his life he worked intensively: in 1496 he signed and dated the Adoration of the Magi requested by the monks of San Donato a Scopeto to replace that left unfinished by Leonardo (both in the Uffizi). In 1501 he painted the Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine with Saints in San Domenico in Bologna; in 1503 he painted the altarpiece showing the Madonna and Child with Saints John the Baptist and Stephen for the altar of the Sala dell’Udienza in the Palazzo Comunale of Prato (now in the Museo Comunale).
In the same year Fra’ Zeccheria di Lorenzo commissioned from Flippino the paintings for a double-sided altarpiece destined to the high altar of the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata in Florence. Filippino had time only to paint the upper part of the Deposition, which was then completed along with the rest by Perugino. Lippi in fact died of angina on 18 April 1504.
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