12 of the Most Famous Paintings by Filippino Lippi

These are the 12 most famous paintings by Filippino Lippi, who was a 15th-century Florentine, Early, and High Renaissance painter. He was very famous and had a good reputation throughout Italy. Lippi painted major series of frescoes in Florence and Rome, but also altarpieces, and he completed his apprenticeship in the workshop of the great Sandro Botticelli, who had been a pupil of Filippino’s father. This Renaissance master is best known for painting his characters in a landscape that recreated the ancient world but also showed the influence of the Grottesco style.

Madonna and Child (1465)

Madonna and Child is one of the most famous paintings by Filippino Lippi, this painting is also called The Uffizi Madonna, as it is housed in the Ufizzi Gallery in Florence. Madonna is sitting on a chair, which is overlooking a landscape of plains, mountains, a city, and a bay. These landmarks are symbolic as the seashore alludes to her title “star of the sea and port of our salvation”, while the rocks symbolize tales of the prophet Daniel. She is looking down, while her hands are folded in prayers while Child Jesus is held up to her by two angels. Her clothing and accessories represent the elegance of the 1450s.

Apparition of Christ to the Virgin (1493)

Apparition of Christ to the Virgin dates to the period after Lippi’s return to Florence after his works in Rome, at the Carafa Chapel. It shows Mary, kneeling under God who is depicted in a golden disc on the sky. She is surrounded by the Angel of the Annunciation and the Virgin Mary. The background landscape is painted using an aerial perspective, with depicted small figures of monks by the river. This iconography seems uncommon and could be a result of the commissioner of the painting’s wishes.

Annunciation with St John the Baptist and St Andrew (1485)

Annunciation with St John the Baptist and St Andrew was Lippi’s early work. It might have been commissioned by the Florentine institution, as the background is a view of the city itself (the Florence Cathedral, Giotto’s Camapanile, Badia Florentina, and Piazzo del Bargello). This painting was heavily influenced by two important mentors in Lippi’s life – his father Filippo and his teacher and later colleague, Botticelli.

Coronation of the Virgin (1480)

Coronation of the Virgin depicts a scene very popular in Italy from the 13th to the 15th century. It holds great significance as procurator of the Sant’Ambrogio church, Francesco Maringhi, left money on his deathbed for a new high altar painting of the church. So, Lippi was invited to do the work along with six external painters. The central scene features biblical figures in informal positions. In the middle, are Christ and the kneeling Madonna who is about to be crowned. Besides anglers, figures in the middle can be recognized as Mary Magdalene and St. Eustace with his family.

Madonna with Child and Saints (1488)

The figures in Madonna with Child and Saints are St. John the Baptist, next to the right hand of the Virgin, child Christ, who is turning towards his precursor dressed in animal skins (appropriate for desert saint), and staff who has a crossbar which is announcing the Crucifixion. In the background, we can observe the ancient architecture, and the commissioner himself, hugging the high daughter who is standing next to his wife.

Marsuppini Coronation (1460)

This panel was done in an archaic style and is divided into three parts. The central one depicts a scene of the coronation of Mary who is kneeling at the feet of Christ, while at the sides are symmetrical compositions of three musician angels and two standing saints.

Annunciation with two Kneeling Donors (1445)

This work pivots around the Virgin, who is occupying the central part of it. The two donor portraits show the anonymous men kneeling and being cordonata. It is probable that they could be identified as Folco Portinari and Fogonaccio, and that they were painted by one of Lippi’s students. It was most likely made for the Florentine church of Sant’Egidio. The depicted figures are the Mother of God and the Archangel Gabriel announcing the news from God.

Allegory of Music (1500)

This painting is also known by the name Erato. This idyllic composition most probably depicts the Muse Erato leading a swan by a golden leash, because this bird, who is Apollo’s attribute may be associated with Musica as well. The other explanation is that it depicts the mythological scene of woman Leda and God Zeus, who was in the guise of a swan

Mystic Wedding of St Catherine Virgin and Martyr (1501)

This oil-on-panel painting pivots around the scene of the mystical marriage of St. Catherine of Alexandria. She was a Christian saint and virgin, martyred in the 4th century at the hand of the Roman emperor, Maxentius. The other figures are St. Paul, and St. Sebastian to the left, and St. Peter and St. John the Baptist on the right.

Tobias and the Angel (1480)

Tobias and the Angel depicts a 2nd-century Jewish book about how God tests the faithful and responds to prayers. The angel depicted is archangel Raphael in human disguise who is accompanying Tobias, a Biblical character and son of Tobit, and helping him on his quests.

Annunziata Polyptych (1507)

This painting was started by Lippi, but he passed away in 1504, so it was finished by Pietro Perugino, an artist of the Umbrian school whose most famous pupil was Raphael. It was originally meant to be the high altar of the Annunziata Basilica in Florence, but the painting was criticized by the Florentines due to the lack of originality of composition. This painting shows the moment in which Jesus Christ is taken down from the cross after his passing. Besides Jesus, the figures depicted are the Virgin, Mary Magdalene on the left, and St. John the Apostle on the right.

Adoration of the Magi (1496)

Adoration of the Magi was primarily commissioned by Leonardo da Vinci, who never finished it. Lippi followed da Vinci’s setting, especially in the central part of the painting. He derived inspiration from Botticelli’s Adoration of the Magi (ca. 1475), which is no surprise as he was his teacher and mentor. Several members of the famous Medici family are depicted, such as Pierfrancesco de’ Medici, who is depicted kneeling on the left. Behind him are his two sons, Giovanni who is holding a goblet, and Lorenzo from whom a page is removing a crown.

What famous paintings by Filippino Lippi do you think we should add to this list? Comment below.

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