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Filippino Lippi

(c. 1457—1504) Italian painter


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(b Prato, c.1457; d Florence, 18 Apr. 1504).

Florentine painter, the son and pupil of Filippo Lippi, who died when the boy was about 12. Filippino (‘little Filippo’) later studied with Botticelli and learned much from his expressive use of line, but Filippino's style, although sensitive and poetic, is more robust than his master's. His first major commission (c.1485) was the completion of Masaccio's fresco cycle in the Brancacci Chapel of S. Maria del Carmine, a task he carried out with such skill and tact that it is sometimes difficult to tell where his work begins and that of more than half a century earlier ends. Among his other frescos, the most important are cycles on the life of St Thomas Aquinas (1488–93) in the Caraffa Chapel, S. Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, and on the lives of St Philip and St John (c.1495–1502) in the Strozzi Chapel, S. Maria Novella, Florence. In these he created picturesque, dramatic, and even bizarre effects that reveal him as one of the most inventive of late quattrocento painters. Filippino also painted many altarpieces, the most famous of which is the Vision of St Bernard (c.1485, Badia, Florence), an exquisitely tender work, full of beautiful detail. Although he is now somewhat overshadowed by Botticelli, Filippino enjoyed a great reputation in his lifetime, being described by Lorenzo de' Medici as ‘superior to Apelles’.

Subjects: Art.


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