Fra Filippo Lippi was not only one of the greatest innovators of early Italian Renaissance art; he was also a biographically fascinating figure.
Enrolled as a friar into the Convent of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence as a young boy, Lippi was exposed to Massaccio's frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel and was soon undertaking frescoes as early as 1432. Lippi quickly received increasingly prestigious commissions for chapels, frescoes and paintings for the likes of the Barbadori family and Piero di Cosimo de Medici. However, in 1455 Lippi found himself embroiled in a bitter legal dispute, accused of embezzling money. This led to his subsequent torture and confession on the rack.
Although he continued to receive increasingly prestigious commissions, in 1457 potential disaster again struck; Lippi scandalously fathered an illegitimate son by an Augustinian nun who he married in 1459, revoking his ecclesiastical vows in 1461.
Fra Filippo Lippi contains an absorbing and penetrating examination of Lippi's life and work, and his place in the history of Renaissance art, and has outstanding colour illustrations throughout of all Lippi's major works, full notes, bibliography, and a checklist of all Lippi's works.