Lippi (lēp´pē), name of two celebrated Italian painters of the 15th cent., Fra Filippo Lippi and his son, Filippino Lippi.
Fra Filippo Lippi
Fra Filippo Lippi, c.1406–1469, called Lippo Lippi, was one of the foremost Florentine painters of the early Renaissance. One of the best colorists and draftsmen of his day, Fra Filippo excelled in a graceful, narrative style. His religious painting is always decorative and full of keen observation and human interest. An orphan, he spent much of his youth in the convent of the Carmelites. He may have studied directly under Masaccio, whose influence is evident in his early works.
Temperamentally unsuited for the life of a monk, he left the convent c.1431. A few years later he executed an altarpiece (since lost) for the cathedral in Padua that distinctly influenced northern Italian painters. He was a highly popular artist in Florence and enjoyed the constant patronage of the Medici. In the 1450s he was at Prato, decorating the choir of the cathedral. These great frescoes, representing scenes from the lives of John the Baptist and St. Stephen, are Lippi's most important works. In 1467 he painted a series of frescoes from the life of the Virgin in the cathedral at Spoleto, where he is buried. These were completed after his death by Fra Diamante.
Lippi is perhaps best known through his many easel paintings, among which are the famous Coronation of the Virgin, painted (1441) for the altar of the nuns of Sant' Ambrogio, and Virgin Adoring the Christ Child (Uffizi); Madonna with Saints (Louvre); Annunciation and Vision of St. Bernard (National Gall., London); Coronation with Saints and Donors (Palazzo Venezia, Rome); Four Saints (damaged) and Madonna and Child with Angels (both: Metropolitan Mus.). Among Fra Filippo's pupils were Botticelli and Il Pesellino.
Filippino Lippi, c.1457–1504, son of Fra Filippo and Lucrezia Buti, was placed after his father's death with Fra Diamante and later studied under Botticelli. He soon became an accomplished painter, revealing the same mastery of color and line as his father, and in 1480 was entrusted with the completion of Masaccio's frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel, Florence. He completed Masaccio's Raising of the Dead Youth and painted Peter and Paul before Nero, Paul's Interview with Peter in Prison, Liberation of St. Peter, and Crucifixion of St. Peter, adapting his style to that of Masaccio. His early works include the charming altarpiece, Vision of St. Bernard (Badia, Florence); the great altarpiece in the Nerli Chapel, Santo Spirito, Florence; and Madonna Enthroned (Uffizi).
In 1488 he went to Rome, where he painted a series of impressive frescoes in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Returning to Florence, he executed many paintings, including the frescoes in Santa Trinita and the panel Adoration of the Magi (Uffizi). In his last years he created the dramatic frescoes of the lives of St. John and St. Philip for the Strozzi Chapel in Santa Maria Novella, Florence. Greatly influenced by Botticelli, Filippino echoed his graceful expression and refinement of line. Examples of his art are in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Metropolitan Museum; and the Cleveland Museum of Art.
See B. Berenson, The Drawings of the Florentine Painters (3 vol., 1970); E. C. Strutt, Fra Lippo Lippi (1901, repr. 1971).