LIPPI, Fra Filippo
(b. 1406, Firenze, d. 1469, Spoleto)

Madonna and Child with Saints, Angels, and a Donor

c. 1437
Panel, 47 x 36 cm
Collezione Vittorio Cini, Venice

The work probably dates from the artist's early career. It may be the first indoor sacra conversazione in the history of Italian painting.

In Florence in the first half of the fifteenth century the market for devotional images was dominated by sculpture, not painting. Consequently, sculptural reliefs exerted a profound influence on painted compositions of the Madonna and Child. This early painting by Filippo Lippi takes its inspiration from a marble relief from the workshop of Donatello (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) that also exists in molded versions.