Monday, 18 February 2013

Filippino Lippi.

Fillipino Lippi, Allegory of Music, c. 1500, Tempera on panel, 61 × 51 cm. Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.
As mentioned previously, Lippi was the illegitimate son of Fra Fillippo and Lucrezia Buti. Like his father he rose to become an important Florentine artist, His early pictures resemble Botticelli’s who was trained by his father. Botticelli threatened to blot out Lippi’s achievements; Filippino’s early works were attributed by Berenson to a made-up painter, “Amico di Sandro.” Perhaps Berenson could be forgiven for casting Lippi in the role of a Botticelli clone; such pictures as his Allegory of Music (Berlin) possess the fluttering drapery and graceful movement that are Botticelli’s trademarks. Lippi eventually forged an artistic identity of his own as can be seen in his set of frescoes for the family chapel of Filippo Strozzi in Santa Maria Novella (1487). Lippi creates an antique looking world that is not only more scholarly in mood than Botticelli, but whose realism is more expressive. Additionally, the clashing colours, cluttered detail and general incoherence are not typical of quattrocento art- and suggest a break with it. The weight of antiquarian elements is worthy of comment, and recalls painters like Mantegna, albeit seen through a “surrealistic” prism.  Were it not for the echoes of Botticelli, one might be forgiven for thinking that the great Venetian archaeological painter had brought his style to Florence. 

  Filipino Lippi and Workshop, View of the Strozzi Chapel, 1487-1502, Fresco,  Santa Maria Novella, Florence.

St Philip Driving the Dragon from the Temple of Hieropolis, 1487-1502, Fresco, Strozzi Chapel, Santa Maria Novella, Florence.

Fillipino Lippi St John the Evangelist Resuscitating Drusiana, 1487-1502, Fresco, Strozzi Chapel, Santa Maria Novella, Florence.

Perhaps Filippino’s most celebrated work is not a Florentine commission at all-  but the fresco painted for Cardinal Carafa (Santa Maria sopra Minerva, in Rome, 1489-91), and therefore outside the purview of this course.

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