LIPPI, Filippino
(b. ca. 1457, Prato, d. 1504, Firenze)

The Coronation of the Virgin

c. 1475
Tempera on panel, 91 x 223 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

Filippino was the son of the artist Fra Filippo Lippi. His father, however, died when the boy was only twelve, about the age when he would have begun his artistic training. Filippino's education was taken over by his father's pupil, Botticelli, and their association lasted many years.

This painting is probably a very early work by Filippino - some, in fact, believe it to be his earliest one to survive. At this point in his career, Filippino was still strongly under Botticelli's influence. The lyrical and graceful line - the rippling cascades of drapery and the fanlike fall of cloth at the Virgin's hem - show Filippino's debt to his teacher, but the confident colours are the artist's own. As his style matured, Filippino moved away from the linearity of Botticelli. The diaphanous shimmer of fabric and sad delicacy of his faces give his works an elusive and poetic quality.

The half-round shape of this painting, called a lunette, was used most often over doorways. Probably this one was placed over the entrance to a private chapel or sacristy, but its original location remains unknown.