About this artwork

The central figure of the Virgin Mary, kneeling in adoration of the Christ Child, derives from a compositional type invented by Filippino Lippi's father, Filippo Lippi. Filippino elaborated the theme by including the seated figure of Joseph and two angels who hold up Mary's mantle. This unusual gesture emphasises the linear patterns made by the drapery folds. The influence of Netherlandish painting is evident in the turreted towers and landscape background. The proportions of this small panel suggest that it was originally painted as part of a predella for an altarpiece.

Filippino Lippi

Filippino Lippi

Filippino Lippi's paintings reflect the combined influence of his father Fra Filippo Lippi and his master Sandro Botticelli. His figures are often almost overwhelmed by voluminous drapery, but are also animated through its fluttering folds. Born illegitimately in Prato, the young Filippino made his name as a painter around 1484 when he completed the fresco cycle begun by Masaccio in the Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence. He spent five years in Rome from 1488, working on frescoes and made detailed studies of classical remains which inspired the character of his later works in Florence.