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Fra Filippo Lippi the Carmelite Painter
by Megan Holmes
ISBN 0300081049 / 9780300081046 / 0-300-08104-9
Publisher Yale University Press
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Widely admired for his paintings of exquisitely beautiful Madonnas, Florentine Renaissance friar-artist Fra Filippo Lippi (c. 1406-69) gained renown also for his love affair with the nun Lucrezia, who bore their son, Filippino Lippi, later a well-known painter himself. In this beautiful and compelling book, Megan Holmes shines new light on Lippi's life and career, from the first paintings he created while a friar in Santa Maria del Carmine to the later works he painted when living outside the monastery for the Medici family, their supporters, and other patrons. Focusing on the fascinating conjunction of Lippi's work as a painter and his experiences as a Carmelite friar, Holmes transforms our understanding of Filippo Lippi and of the way art was produced and viewed in fifteenth-century Florence.
Unlike most monastic artists, Fra Filippo learned to paint only after joining a religious order. In the first section of the book, the author considers how the doctrines, rules, rituals, and practices of the Carmelites shaped Lippi's art and manner of envisioning sacred subjects. In the second section, Holmes discusses Lippi's life and painting after he left the monastery, demonstrating how his mature work broke new ground but continued to draw upon Carmelite influences. The final section of the book looks closely at three altarpieces Fra Filippo painted for monastic institutions and sets them in a broader social and religious context. [via]