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Filippino Lippi.

Filippino Lippi was the son of artist Fra Filippo Lippi, by whom he was trained. At age 12, he became Botticelli's pupil. Both Filippo and Filippino painted themselves as spectators in religious frescos, as did other artists of the time. The self-portrait of the painter moved from the margins of manuscripts to the outer edges of frescos and altarpieces.

Filippino was probably 28 years old when he painted this portrait. This was about the same time he was working on the frescos in the Brancacci Chapel of Sta Maria del Carmine in Florence.

This small, irregular-shaped tile is just a portrait, nothing else. it is a face alone; no color, no background, no ornament or distracting costume. it's sketched on a smoothed coat of plaster, wiped with a tone of buff or gray. The features are brownish-beige contours. The cap and shoulders are roughly sketched. The buttons of the jacket appear as the crushed tips of a paint brush.

The face is youthful, the skin smooth. Dark hair falls in soft, irregular curls. Teeth are visible through slightly parted, pale red lips. The eyes seem almost green and are locked in a gaze that is both quizzical and doubtful. As viewers we are engaged. We are attentive, almost expectant.

Why is this called a sketch? Are sketches ever finished? With no signature to assure us, how can we be certain this is Filippino Lippi? Do photographs of him exist? Why not? Did he paint other pictures of himself? Is it reasonable to assume this is a fair likeness of Filippino? How do you think an artist living at this time would be able to paint such a natural looking likeness of self?
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Title Annotation:art lesson on Early Renaissance artist's self-portrait
Publication:School Arts
Date:Dec 1, 1994
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