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Imitator of Fra Filippo Lippi, The Virgin and Child with an Angel

Key facts
Full title The Virgin and Child with an Angel
Artist Imitator of Fra Filippo Lippi
Artist dates born about 1406; died 1469
Date made about 1480
Medium and support Egg on poplar
Dimensions 69.9 × 48.3 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1857
Inventory number NG589
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Virgin and Child with an Angel
Imitator of Fra Filippo Lippi

The design of this tender image of the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child and an angel is derived from a picture by Fra Filippo Lippi, the Florentine painter and monk. It was a popular composition in Florence and there are numerous versions of it by different artists. The semi-transparent veil with its rippling folds is particularly similar to Lippi’s version, as are the thick blond waves of Christ’s hair.

A vaulted arch frames both the figures in the foreground and the landscape in the background. Its ceiling is is made up of sunken square panels, a form of decoration found in many classical buildings. It was revived in the Renaissance for church architecture and so it would have been familiar to worshippers.

Pictures like this, which stressed the Virgin’s maternal bond with the infant Christ, were popular for private worship in the home.

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