Filippino Lippi: “Angel of the Annunciation” and the “Annunciation”Palazzo Marino, Milan
A special Christmas art event returns once again in 2019, with the chance to see Filippino Lippi’s masterpiece, a stunning Annunciation illustrated by the Tuscan maestro in two large tondos: the Angel of the Annunciation and the Annunciation.
The artwork has been owned for over 5 centuries by the Municipality of San Gimignano, which commissioned it to decorate the Town Hall. Housed in the Pinacoteca Civica di San Gimignano, the two large tondos were painted between 1483 and 1484, when 26-year-old Filippino, son of Fra Filippo Lippi and pupil of Sandro Botticelli, had already begun working on important commissions including the Brancacci Chapel in Florence.
The tondo with the Angel of the Annunciation shows the Angel Gabriel kneeling in a central position on a floor resembling the ancient paving of Piazza della Signoria, Florence. He is clothed in elegantly knotted robes that seem to billow in the wind; a bench stands out against the dark wall in the background, lit by the golden rays of the Holy Spirit.
The Annunziata tondo is brighter and airier thanks to the light reflected diagonally on the floor, with greater space given to the wooded landscape and a Nordic city dotted with spires. The Virgin Mary is kneeling, in keeping with traditional iconography, her eyes cast downwards as a mark of her humility and acceptance of the divine will.
The carved, gilded and silvered wooden frames were made six years later, probably by Antonio da Colle, a carpenter who worked extensively in San Gimignano in the latter half of the 1400s. Both frames are decorated with garlands of flowers, fruit and leaves.
Open from 29 November 2019 to 12 January 2020 at Palazzo Marino, the exhibition has been curated by Alessandro Cecchi, a leading scholar on 15th and 16th century Tuscan art, with a dedicated staging, extensive educational resources and a video projection.
Organised by the Municipality of Milan and Intesa Sanpaolo – institutional partner – and sponsored by Rinascente, the exhibition was coordinated by Palazzo Reale and produced in association with the Pinacoteca Civica di San Gimignano, with the support of the Municipality of San Gimignano and the Gallerie d’Italia in Piazza Scala.