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(lēp`pē), name of two celebrated Italian painters of the 15th cent., Fra Filippo Lippi and his son, Filippino Lippi.

Fra Filippo Lippi

Fra Filippo Lippi, c.1406–1469, called Lippo Lippi, was one of the foremost Florentine painters of the early Renaissance. One of the best colorists and draftsmen of his day, Fra Filippo excelled in a graceful, narrative style. His religious painting is always decorative and full of keen observation and human interest. An orphan, he spent much of his youth in the convent of the Carmelites. He may have studied directly under MasaccioMasaccio
, 1401–1428?, Italian painter. He is the foremost Italian painter of the Florentine Renaissance in the early 15th cent. Masaccio's original name was Tommaso Guidi. He was enrolled in the guild of St. Luke in 1424.
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, whose influence is evident in his early works.

Temperamentally unsuited for the life of a monk, he left the convent c.1431. A few years later he executed an altarpiece (since lost) for the cathedral in Padua that distinctly influenced northern Italian painters. He was a highly popular artist in Florence and enjoyed the constant patronage of the Medici. In the 1450s he was at Prato, decorating the choir of the cathedral. These great frescoes, representing scenes from the lives of John the Baptist and St. Stephen, are Lippi's most important works. In 1467 he painted a series of frescoes from the life of the Virgin in the cathedral at Spoleto, where he is buried. These were completed after his death by Fra Diamante.

Lippi is perhaps best known through his many easel paintings, among which are the famous Coronation of the Virgin, painted (1441) for the altar of the nuns of Sant' Ambrogio, and Virgin Adoring the Christ Child (Uffizi); Madonna with Saints (Louvre); Annunciation and Vision of St. Bernard (National Gall., London); Coronation with Saints and Donors (Palazzo Venezia, Rome); Four Saints (damaged) and Madonna and Child with Angels (both: Metropolitan Mus.). Among Fra Filippo's pupils were BotticelliBotticelli, Sandro
, c.1444–1510, Florentine painter of the Renaissance, whose real name was Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi . He was apprenticed to Fra Filippo Lippi, whose delicate coloring can be seen in such early works as the Adoration of the Kings
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 and Il PesellinoPesellino, Il
, 1422–57, Italian painter of the Florentine school, whose real name was Francesco di Stefano. He was a grandson and pupil of Giuliano Giuochi, called Pesello. Also influenced by Fra Filippo Lippi, he painted with delicacy and charm.
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Filippino Lippi

Filippino Lippi, c.1457–1504, son of Fra Filippo and Lucrezia Buti, was placed after his father's death with Fra Diamante and later studied under Botticelli. He soon became an accomplished painter, revealing the same mastery of color and line as his father, and in 1480 was entrusted with the completion of Masaccio's frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel, Florence. He completed Masaccio's Raising of the Dead Youth and painted Peter and Paul before Nero, Paul's Interview with Peter in Prison, Liberation of St. Peter, and Crucifixion of St. Peter, adapting his style to that of Masaccio. His early works include the charming altarpiece, Vision of St. Bernard (Badia, Florence); the great altarpiece in the Nerli Chapel, Santo Spirito, Florence; and Madonna Enthroned (Uffizi).

In 1488 he went to Rome, where he painted a series of impressive frescoes in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Returning to Florence, he executed many paintings, including the frescoes in Santa Trinita and the panel Adoration of the Magi (Uffizi). In his last years he created the dramatic frescoes of the lives of St. John and St. Philip for the Strozzi Chapel in Santa Maria Novella, Florence. Greatly influenced by Botticelli, Filippino echoed his graceful expression and refinement of line. Examples of his art are in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Metropolitan Museum; and the Cleveland Museum of Art.


See B. Berenson, The Drawings of the Florentine Painters (3 vol., 1970); E. C. Strutt, Fra Lippo Lippi (1901, repr. 1971).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a family of Italian painters, representatives of the Florentine quattrocento.

Fra Filippo Lippi. Born circa 1406 in Florence; died Oct. 9, 1469, in Spoleto, Perugia.

From 1421 to 1456, Filippo was a Carmelite monk. His artistic development was influenced by Masaccio, Masolino, Lorenzo Monaco, and Fra Angelico. Fra Filippo softened the sculptural three-dimensionality of forms by using complex yet harmoniously fluid motifs of movement and a palette toned down with shadings (for example, the fresco The Reform of the Carmelite Rule, 1432, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence; Coronation of the Virgin, 1441–47, Uffizi Gallery, Florence). In his cycles of frescoes, which are marked by a subtle linear rhythm, he depicted a number of his contemporaries (for example, the murals on themes from the lives of St. Stephen and St. John the Baptist, choir of the Prato Cathedral, 1452–64). His smaller religious compositions are distinguished by their serenity and intimacy (The Virgin Adoring the Child, late 1450’s-early 1460’s, Picture Gallery, Dahlem, Berlin; The Madonna and Child With Two Angels, c. 1465, Uffizi Gallery).

Filippino Lippi. Born circa 1457 in Prato, Tuscany; died Apr. 18, 1504, in Florence. Son of Fra Filippo.

Filippino studied initially with his father, then under Botticelli, whose influence permeates his early lyrical and spiritualized works (for example, Scenes From the Life of Lucrezia, c. 1475–1480, Pitti Gallery, Florence). Between 1481 and 1483 Filippino completed Masaccio’s frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence. His mature work shows the influence of Leonardo da Vinci and the Dutch school. Elements of restlessness and a mannered tension gradually became evident in his frescoes and murals (for example, the murals in the Caraffa Chapel, 1488–93, in Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome; the murals in the Strozzi Chapel, 1487–1502, in Santa Maria Novella, Florence). The architectural ornamental detail in Filippino’s work, reminiscent of the art of antiquity, imparts a particular refinement. Filippino was also a gifted draftsman.


Neilson, K. B. Filippino Lippi. Cambridge (Mass.), 1938.
Oertel, R. Fra Filippo Lippi. Vienna, 1942.
Pittaluga, H. Filippo Lippi. Florence, 1949.
Scharf, A. Filippino Lippi. Vienna, 1950.
Gamba, F. Filippino Lippi nella storia della critica. Florence, 1958.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. Filippino . ?1457--1504, Italian painter of the Florentine school
2. his father, Fra Filippo . ?1406--69, Italian painter of the Florentine school, noted particularly for his frescoes at Prato Cathedral (1452--64)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005