MASTER of the Castello Nativity
(active in the mid-15th century)
Italian painter. He was named by Berenson (1913) after the Nativity (Galleria dell'Accademia) that came from the Medici villa at Castello. There are no datable works by the Master, but the earliest attributable works indicate stylistically that he was probably a pupil of Filippo Lippi and trained in his studio in Florence in the 1440s, before Lippi's move to Prato.
Essentially about thirty paintings can be attributed to this minor master who specialized in the production of devotional paintings of the Madonna and Child. His most ambitious work is an altarpiece painted for the parish church of Santi Giusto e Clemente at Faltugnano, near Prato. With its delicate figures placed within an imaginative architectural setting, this impressive picture was manifestly inspired by the example of Filippo Lippi, with whom the Master of the Castello Nativity must have worked during the 1440s.