Filippo Lippi

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Filippo Lippi
Madonna and Child
The coronation of the Virgin Mary in heaven
Madonna with Child and Two Angels

Fra Filippo Tommaso Lippi (also Fra Lippo Lippi , * around 1406 in Florence , † around October 8, 1469 in Spoleto ) was an Italian painter of the early Renaissance . His works are characterized by fine lines and careful perspective design of the backgrounds (especially landscapes).

As with Masaccio , Lippi's painting was strongly influenced by the perspective theory of the architect Brunelleschi and the sculptural-realistic representation of the human figure by the sculptor Donatello . He had an important workshop in Florence, where Sandro Botticelli and his son Filippino Lippi were trained.


Both Lippi's father, a butcher, and his mother died when he was a child. As an orphan he was raised by his aunt. At the age of 14 he was accepted into the Carmelite monastery of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence and stayed there until 1432. He probably took his first steps in painting there. In the neighboring Brancacci chapel he was able to study Masaccio's works and thus get to know his techniques and expression at an early age. Between 1430 and 1432 he carried out some works for the monastery, which were destroyed by a fire in 1771.

Eventually Lippi left the monastery, but was probably not released from his vows at first. In a letter dated 1439 he speaks of himself as the poorest monk in Florence and reports that he is responsible for six nieces of marriage age. In 1452 he was appointed chaplain of the Convent of San Giovannino in Florence. He was rector (Rettore Commendatario) of San Quirico a Legnaia since 1442 .

His biographer Giorgio Vasari recounts some of Fra Filippo's strange and romantic adventures, but today's biographers tend to reject these stories. Apart from Vasari, nothing is known about his trip to Ancona and Naples, nor about his interim capture by Berber pirates and his enslavement, from which his talent in portrait painting allegedly freed him.

In June 1456 Filippo settled in Prato to paint the frescoes in the choir of the cathedral there. Before he actually started working on it, he made a picture for the convent chapel of San Margherita in Prato in 1458 and got to know Lucrezia Buti, the beautiful daughter of the Florentine Francesco Buti. She was either a novice or a young woman in the care of the nuns. He asked that she sit as a model for the portrait of the Madonna or San Margherita. He ran away with her; the result of this love was Filippino Lippi, who also became a painter.

Fra Filippo's last work was the frescoes in the apse of Spoleto Cathedral. During this work he died and the work was finished by Fra Diamante .


  • Fresco: Confirmation of the Carmelite Order (1432, Florence)
  • Altarpiece: Trinity (Berlin, State Museums of Prussian Cultural Heritage, formerly Florence, Palazzo Medici, chapel)
  • Altar panel: Mary with child, angels and hll. Fredianus and Augustine (1437, Paris Louvre , formerly Florence, S. Spirito, Capella de 'Barbadori)
  • Annunciation of Death to Mary (1437–1438, Florence)
  • The Coronation of the Virgin (1441–1447, Florence)
  • Annunciation Mariae (around 1450, Munich Alte Pinakothek )
  • Tondo: Madonna and Child (1452, Florence)
  • Panel painting: Mary with child, hll. Stephanus and Johannes Bapt., Group of founders (1452–1453, Prato, Museo Civico, formerly Prato, Ospedale del Ceppo)
Herod's Supper from the fresco cycle in Prato Cathedral
The funeral of St. Stephen from the fresco cycle in Prato Cathedral
  • Fresco cycle: Scenes from the life of St. Stephen and John the Baptist (1452-1457, Prato, Cathedral)
  • Adoration of the Child in the Forest (1459, Berlin Gemäldegalerie )
  • Madonna and Child and Two Angels (1465, Florence Uffizi )
  • Maria with the child (around 1465, Munich Alte Pinakothek )
  • Altarpiece: Jesus offering in the temple (1468, Prato, S. Spirito, formerly S. Spirito, high altar)
  • Apse painting: scenes from the life of Mary (1466–1469, Spoleto, cathedral)


  • Luca Bortolotti:  LIPPI, Filippo. In: Mario Caravale (ed.): Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (DBI). Volume 65:  Levis-Lorenzetti. Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, Rome 2005.
  • Quirin Engasser (ed.): Great men of world history. 1000 biographies in words and pictures . Neuer Kaiser Verlag, Klagenfurt 1987, ISBN 3-7043-3065-5 , p. 275.
  • Gloria Fossi: Filippo Lippi. Koenigstein i. Ts., Langewiesche, 1995, ISBN 978-3784563855 .
  • Raimund Marle: The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting, in 19 volumes, The Hague 1923–1938 (reprinted New York 1970), here: Vol. X, pp. 394–468.
  • Henriette Mendelsohn : Fra Filippo Lippi. Julius Bard, Berlin 1909.
  • Jeffrey Ruda: Fra Filippo Lippi. Life and work. With a complete Cataloque . London 1993.
  • Edward C. Strutt: Fra Filippo Lippi. London 1901.
  • Giorgio Vasari : The life of Lippi, Pesello and Pesellino, Castagno, Veneziano and Fra Angelico. Newly translated into German by Victoria Lorini. Ed., Commented and introduced by Jana Graul and Heiko Damm, Verlag Klaus Wagenbach, Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-8031-5054-7 .

Web links

Commons : Filippo Lippi  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Vasari, G .: Artists of the Renaissance, e-artnow, 2017
  2. Luca Bortolotti in: Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani