Skip to main content

Fra Filippo Lippi, Seven Saints

Key facts
Full title Seven Saints
Artist Fra Filippo Lippi
Artist dates born about 1406; died 1469
Series Medici (Overdoor?) Panels
Date made about 1450-3
Medium and support Egg tempera on wood
Dimensions 68 × 152.8 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1861
Inventory number NG667
Location Gallery D
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Seven Saints
Fra Filippo Lippi

Seven saints – all patron saints of members of Florence’s ruling family, the Medici – talk and interact as though Lippi was painting an animated portrait of a group of historical figures.

On the far left is Saint Francis. His meditation on the suffering of Christ was so profound that he developed the wounds of the Crucifixion; here they emit rays of heavenly light. Furthest right is Saint Peter Martyr, the knife in his skull a reminder of how he was killed.

At the centre, Saint John the Baptist is seated between Saints Cosmas and Damian. The little golden boxes on the ledge behind these two are medicine boxes: they were doctors. Next to them are Saint Lawrence, to the left, and Saint Anthony Abbot, to the right. Saint Lawrence was burnt to death on a grill, which became his symbol – it rests against the bench by his side.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo

Medici (Overdoor?) Panels


These panels were made for a member of Florence’s ruling family, the Medici, and once hung in the Palazzo Medici. One panel shows the Annunciation (when the Virgin Mary was told she would conceive a son, Jesus Christ); the other, a gathering of patron saints of the Medici family. The panels are similar in size, scale and viewpoint, suggesting that they were designed as a pair, and were intended to hang where they could be viewed together.

They may have been placed over the doors of Piero de' Medici’s study – its ceiling was decorated with ceramic roundels representing the signs of the zodiac (and, therefore, the months). The Annunciation suits such a setting: its feast was celebrated on 25 March, the first day of the Florentine calendar year. Depicting Medici patron saints may have been a way to demonstrate the protection they offered to the city throughout the year.