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The Meeting at the Golden Gate
Photo credit: Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

The Meeting at the Golden Gate c. 1440–1445

Filippo Lippi (c.1406–1469)

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

(b Florence, c.1406; d Spoleto, 10 Oct. 1469). Florentine painter. He was brought up as an unwanted child in the Carmelite friary of S. Maria del Carmine, where he took his vows in 1421. Unlike the Dominican Fra Angelico, however, Lippi was a reluctant friar and had a scandalous love affair with a nun, Lucrezia Buti, who bore his son Filippino Lippi and a daughter Alessandra. The couple were released from their vows and allowed to marry, but Lippi still signed himself ‘Frater Philippus’. His biography (romantically embroidered to include capture by Moorish pirates) is one of the most colourful in Vasari's Lives and has given rise to the picture of a worldly Renaissance artist, rebelling against the discipline of the Church—an image reflected in Robert Browning's poem about Lippi (‘Fra Lippo Lippi’ in Men and Women, 1855).

Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)

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