Lippi, Fra. Filippo

, an eminent historical painter, was born at Florence, probably about the beginning of the fifteenth century, as he was a scholar of, and of course nearly contemporary with, Massaccio. At the age of sixteen, being entered a noviciate in the convent of Carmelites at Florence, he had there an opportunity of seeing that extraordinary artist at work upon the astonishing frescoes with which he adorned the chapel of Brancacci, in the church there; and being eager to embrace the art, such was his success, that after the death of his master, it was said by common consent, that the soul of Massaccio still abode with Fra. Filippo. He now forsook the habit of his convent, and devoted himself entirely to painting; but his studies were for a time disturbed by his being unfortunately taken, while out on a party of pleasure, by some Moors, and carried prisoner to Barbary; where he remained in slavery eighteen months. But having drawn, with a piece of charcoal, the portrait of his master upon a wall, the latter was so affected by the novelty of the performance, and its exact resemblance, that, after exacting a few more specimens of his art, he generously restored him to his liberty. On his return home he painted some works for Alphonso, king of Calabria. He employed himself also in Padua; but it was in his native city of Florence that his principal works were performed. He was employed by the grand duke Cosmo di Medici, who presented his pictures to his friends; and one to pope Eugenius IV. He was also employed to adorn the palaces of the republic, the churches, and many of the houses of the principal citizens; among whom his talents were held in high estimation. He was the first of the Florentine painters who attempted to design figures as large as life, and the first who remarkably diversified the draperies, and who gave his figures the air of antiques. It is to be lamented that such a man should at last perish by the consequences of a guilty amour he indulged in at Spoleto; where he was employed at the cathedral to paint the chapel of the blessed virgin. This is differently told by different writers, some saying that he seduced a nun who sat to him for a model of the virgin, and others that the object of his passion was a married | woman. In either case, it is certain that he was poisoned by the relations of the lady whose favours he was supposed to enjoy. Lorenzo di Medici erected a marble tomb in the cathedral to his memory, which Politian adorned with a Latin epitaph. His son Lippi Filippo, was renowned for excellent imitations of architectural ornaments. He died in 1505, at the age of forty-five. There was also a Florentine painter, Lorenzo Lippi, born in 1606, and likewise a great musician and a poet. In the latter character he published “II Malmantile racquistato,” which is considered as a classical work in the Tuscan language. He died in 1664. 1


Pilkington. Vasari. Roscoe’s Lorenzo. Bullart’a Academic des Sciences, vol. I.