Madonna and Jesus at Prato’s Church
Lippi’s picture, “Madonna”, is located at the church of Pareto City. Behind the picture, there lays the artist’s little story; little story which caused his death.
Lippi had been working for two years at the church, painting number of pictures. In the picture “Madonna”, Lippi chose a young attractive monk from the church, Lucrezia, to model for him. As the work at the church continued, the young monk and our artists have developed an affair, which soon after caused Lucrezia pregnancy.
The two were busted and got expelled of church. Nevertheless, they did not give up and begged for forgiveness from the pope, whom was authorized to let them marry. The pope refused, and it took several years for them to change his mind.
Lippi continued demanding the pope for permission to get out of church, as being a priest blocked his way to marry Lucrezia. Lucrezia rebelled, and her family’s revenge hadn’t waited much longer to come; they poisoned Lippi. Ironically, waiting a few days would have revealed that the couple got permission to marry.
In the picture, you can see Madonna, probably modeled by Lucrezia, holding baby Jesus on her knees. You may notice the sorrow in their eyes, as they both cry. Unlike Madonna, baby Jesus also looks terrified. I tried to recreate and emphasize the window in front of Jesus, and in front of me appeared a monster. I suggest this is the reason for the baby’s fear.
The monster is not very much tangible, as you cannot mark it. Nevertheless, you realize that there’s something there. That is something that may symbolize Lippi’s personal life, as Lippi has lost Lucrezia.
Lippi’s Round Pictures
Lippi used to paint round pictures, some half-circle shaped. Most of these were designated for room entrances (been painted above doorposts).
Lippi was a house painter of the Medici family, which had been ruling Florence Republic for 200 years. From Lippi’s finest masterpieces you may find a round picture called “the Virgin”. The picture includes Saint Ann, just a few moments after giving birth to Maria.
In the middle of the picture, Maria is caressing little Jesus, whom tries to understand why is the pomegranate bloody red. Close to him, you can see Maria’s servants terrified, as they find the blood puddle on the floor.
Another child, who is probably Jesus either, is trying to hide in Maria’s dress as his mouth is bleeding.
In the other part of the picture, the family’s father is escaping from life as he knocks on “heaven’s gate” (the upper right corner). The gate is opened and God, portrayed by/as a woman, accepts his arrival with a smile.
Under these stairs, you may find an interesting mosaic picture that leads us into a cave full of animals. We may realize that the picture beholds a deeper, concealed meaning. Jesus’ father symbolizes human beings, is standing above the animals, while the seconds are suffering from merciless life. That is actually a completion of Jesus wonderment, as the bloody red pomegranate symbolizes animals living under human abuse.
In the picture “Seven Saints”, the main saint is not Jesus (!) but John the Baptist. Around John there are some figures from Italia’s history, including Saint Francesco from Assisi. The picture criticizes the new Saints, whom are not serving Rome’s Christianity as they do not follow Christ’s heritage. This ignoring of Jesus, whom is the natural Christian authority above these saints, clues that there’s a start of a new religion. One which is based on many gods; eventually resisting the monotheist concept.
In the center is St John the Baptist, patron saint of Florence, flanked by the saints Cosmas and Damian protectors of the Medici, and in particular of Cosimo de’ Medici, Piero’s father). On the right, in the foreground, is St Peter of Verona, protector of Piero di Cosimo de’ Medici, and next to him is St John the Evangelist, protector of his brother Giovanni. On the left, in the foreground, are St Francis of Assisi, the patron of Pierfrancesco the Elder (Piero’s cousin), and St Lawrence, patron of his uncle, Lorenzo the Elder.