Olga's Gallery

Fra Filippo Lippi Biography

Fra Filippo Lippi is one of the most important successors to Masaccio. In 1421, he entered the monastery of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence and was able to observe the decorative work in progress in the Brancacci Chapel. He used this experience in his first work, the frescoes in the cloisters of the monastery (1432), now only surviving in fragments, with their plastic figures and individual facial expressions. His Madonna Enthroned (1437), is, in her clear articulation, reminiscent of Masaccio’s alterpiece in Pisa. In the 1440s, complex movements and a restless treatment of drapery are discernible The Annunciation (c.1442). These were the elements on which his great pupil Botticelli informed himself. With the decoration of the cathedral choir in Prato between 1452 and 1465, his artistic development reached its culmination, ranking him with Fra Angelico among the most outstanding fresco painters of his time The Feast of Herod: Salome's Dance (c.1460-1464).

Lippi was chaplain to Santa Margherita in Prato from 1456, but he had to leave the order as he had formed a relationship with the nun Lucretia Buti, who bore him a son, Filippino Lippi (born about 1457), who as a pupil and assistant of Botticelli was to give the latter’s late style certain Mannerist features. In his own late period Lippi painted various versions of The Adoration, with the Infant Baptist and St. Bernard (c.1459), the most famous being the one produced for the house chapel of the Palazzo Medici (now in Berlin, Gemaldegalerie). With its fairy-tale atmosphere created by light and shade, the rich use of gold and the magnificent flower carpet, this panel represents one of the finest achievements of the period.


Painting of Europe. XIII-XX centuries. Encyclopedic Dictionary. Moscow. Iskusstvo. 1999.

Filippo Lippi (Library of the Great Masters) by Gloria Fossi, Lisa C. Pelletti (Translator). Riverside Book Company, 1990.

Fra Filippo Lippi: The Carmelite Painter by Megan Holmes. Yale Univ Pr, 1999.

Fra Filippo Lippi: Life and Work by Jeffrey Ruda. Phaidon Press Inc., 1999.