Circle of Fra Filippo Lippi , 'The Angel of the Annunciation'
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- 17 x 13 cm
Private collection, London (as Pesellino);
Arens Collection, Brussels;
Private European collection
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Circle of Fra Filippo Lippi (Florence circa 1406–1469 Spoleto)
The present paintings were intended for private devotion and may originally have been part of a small portable altarpiece. They were previosuly attributed to Pesellino. The present panels are a testament to early Florentine Renaissance painting. The style and composition of the figures derive directly from the examples of Fra Filippo Lippi (1406-1469), particularly notable in the rounded contours defining the forms, the smooth modelling, and the palette of harmonies of red, pink and blue. The Angel is dressed in the same way as the one in the Annunciation by Fra Filippo in the Frick Collection, New York, while the rounded form of the Madonna’s face, seen in three quarter view, is modelled directly on examples derived from Lippi.
The present paintings can be compared to two works given to the young Filippo Lippi and dated to circa 1430 (see: K. Christiansen, New Light on the early work of Filippo Lippi, in: Apollo, 122, 1985, pp. 338-343; J. Ruda, Fra Filippo Lippi, London 1993, pp. 62-64): the panel with Saint John the Evangelist formerly in the Barbara Piasecka Johnson Collection, and now in the Alana Collection, Newark, and the panel with Saint Catherine of Alexandria and an Evangelist in the Musèe des Beaux-Arts, Lyons (inv. 1985-110), in which the same pattern of tooled punch marks appears in the gold ground.
Furthermore, the present paintings can be compared to a painting from the close circle of Fra Filippo Lippi, the Saint Christopher with the Christ Child formerly in the Lanckoronski Collection, Vienna, attributed by Berenson to Fra Diamante, by Everett Fahy to the Master of Pratovecchio and by Luciano Bellosi to Fra Carnevale, previously identified as the Master of the Barberini Panels (see B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Florentine School, London 1963, vol. I, p. 59; L. Bellosi, in Pittura di Luce, Milan 1990