Filippo Lippi was born in Florence in 1406. He lost his parents when he was still a small child, and he and his brother were raised by his father’s sister. In 1421, he took his vows as a monk, and in 1422, he helped paint the Brancacci chapel.
He was very much influenced by the sculptures of Donatello, Luca della Robbia, Nanni di Banco and Brunelleschi. In these years, he traveled to Siena, Pistoia and Prato to execute artworks. In 1432, he left Florence for Padova, where he painted a series of artworks. In Padova, Lippi came into contact with the Venetian and Flemish style. In 1437, he returned to Florence, opened a workshop, and painted the Madonna of Tarquinia and the Barbadori Pala for Santo Spirito. In these works, the figures are elongated and become softer without ever losing their plasticity.
In 1438, his artwork is exalted, being compared to the very renowned works by Beato Angelico. From 1439 to 1447, he worked on the Coronation of the Virgin Mary, which today, is in the Uffizi. He was imprisoned for a period of time for having failed to pay one his helpers in 1450. He was called to court again in 1451 for having falsified a painting he was supposed to have painted by his own hand (instead he had it painted by his apprentices). He would go on to produce masterpieces in the period that followed. In worked extensively in Florence and its surrounding areas, including Prato where he painted the frescos in the Maggiore chapel in the Duomo of Santo Stefano, as well as other masterworks in Spoleto. He had a love affair with a nun in Prato called Lucrezia Buti, and they had two children: Fillippino (1457) and Alessandra (1465).
Lippi died in October 1469, and was buried in the Cathedral of Spoleto. His son, Fillippino, designed the artist’s marble tomb with a bust, and the humanist poet, Angelo Poliziano, wrote an epitaph for the tomb.
MADONNA, THE CHILD AND TWO ANGELS
One of his most famous works is housed at the Uffizi Museum in Florence. He initially adhered to the novelties introduced by Masaccio (the construction of the technique of prospective and the use of full-sized figures), and over the years, this became a renewed gothic influence, mixed with the style of Beato Angelico and the Flemish style. His curved and wavy lines, characteristic of the Florentine school, construct the overall image.
In his later works, Lippi accentuates the chromatic effect by compactly painting the colors, enlarging and refining the figures. Botticelli then takes these factors and builds on them in later years.