Martelli Annunciation

Artist Filippo Lippi
Year c. 1440
Type Tempera on panel
Dimensions 175 cm × 183 cm (69 in × 72 in)
Location Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence

The Martelli Annunciation is a painting by Filippo Lippi, in the Martelli Chapel in the left transept of the Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence.

There are no informations about the painting's origin, although it is likely that it was originally placed in the current location; the dating to c. 1440 is based on the style and the presence of St. Nicholas in the predella panels: this because Niccolò Martelli, a rich Florentine citizen which supported the reconstruction of the basilica during the Medici prominence in Florence.

The painting is considered the very first knew example of squared altarpiece, without any traditional gothic decoration like pinnacles or cusps, in order to better match the simple architecture of the church, by Brunelleschi.

The panel is divided in two by a central column. It uses geometrical perspective to show a complex architecture including several edifices and an open loggia. There are several elements suggesting the influence of Flemish painting, by which Lippi was influenced during his stay in Padua. These include the glass ampulla in the foreground, symbolizing the holy Spirit.

On the left, over a step, is a group an angels, while on the left is the Annunciation scene, inspired to Donatello's Cavalcanti Annunciation (c. 1435). The angel is holding a white lily, a symbol of the Virgin's purity.

The three scenes in the predella are similar to those in the Barbadori Altarpiece, from 1438.

External links

  • [1] (Italian)

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