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Fra Filippo Lippi and workshop, The Virgin and Child

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child
Artist Fra Filippo Lippi and workshop
Artist dates born about 1406; died 1469
Date made about 1450-60
Medium and support Egg tempera on wood
Dimensions 76.6 × 61 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Lord Brownlow, 1919
Inventory number NG3424
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Virgin and Child
Fra Filippo Lippi and workshop

The Christ Child lies in the Virgin Mary’s arms and holds a small bird to his lips. This tender image was intended to show the bond between Christ and his mother.

Christ’s pose is found in paintings of the Virgin adoring the Child that were produced by Lippi and his workshop, such as the so-called Annalena Adoration (Uffizi, Florence). But it’s difficult to assess the degree of Lippi’s involvement here: the picture has been repainted more than once, and once from scratch. Technical analysis has revealed the original version underneath the new one.

The coats of arms may have been added to celebrate a marriage which united two Florentine families – the Strozzi (left) and the Gaetani (right) – in the sixteenth century.

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