Fra Filippo Lippi (1406-1469)
Fra Filippo Lippi was an early Renaissance Italian painter who brought a new note of informality and decorativeness to the basic intellectualism of Florentine painting. As a child, Fra Filippo was placed by his widowed mother in the monastery of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence, where he received training as a painter and took religious vows as a monk in 1421.
His early works were highly influenced by the earlier Florentine master Masaccio. His fresco Reform of the Carmelite Rule echoes Masaccio's style in its use of imposing three-dimensional human figures; the Annunciation shows his mastery of Masaccio's newly discovered principles of perspective. After 1440, Filippo gradually abandoned Masaccio's precepts in favor of a more decorative style that recalled the Gothic in its use of fluttering draperies, attenuated figures, and glowing colors.
He stressed the human aspects of his scenes; his Madonna's are sweetly pious or appealingly pretty and his depictions of the Christ child and of cherubs are often playful or mischievous. Much of this informality undoubtedly derives from his renunciation of his vows and subsequent marriage in 1461.
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