Two paintings by Florentine Renaissance painter Filippino Lippi portraying the theme of the Annunciation are on display at San Gimignano’s town hall until November 2, following recent restoration.
The first painting focuses on the archangel Gabriel as he bears the news that the Virgin will give birth to Christ, while the second portrays the Virgin receiving the news, her eyes cast downwards. Both were commissioned by San Gimignano’s Guelph party Priors and Captains for the city’s Palazzo Comunale (town hall) in 1482.
A major feature of the exhibition is the display of historic documents detailing the paintings’ commission, preserved in San Gimignano’s city archives for five centuries, which give voice to the Guelph party’s civic spirit and desire to beautify their city’s seat of government. The exhibit also includes original sketches from Filippo Lippi from the same period, on loan from the Uffizi Gallery.
Lippi, who lived in the second half of the fifteenth century, began his career as an artist training under his father Filippo. Both worked together in the cathedral of Spoleto in Umbria, where they began to paint frescoes depicting the life of the Virgin Mary. Lippi eventually completed the frescoes following the death of his father in 1469.
Lippi went on to become an apprentice under Sandro Botticelli, who had also been a pupil of his father. Lippi’s first works greatly resemble those of Botticelli’s, but with less sensitivity and subtlety. He was also drawn to Dutch paintings of his time, which are still prominent in Renaissance exhibitions today, particularly at the Uffizi Gallery.
San Gimignano Pinacoteca
Palazzo Comunale, San Gimignano
Until November 2
Cost: €7.50; €6.50 (reduced)