‘Mary, full of grace; first conceived Jesus in her heart before she conceived Him in her womb’ – St. Augustine
We are in the Uffizi Gallery of Art History collections. Having traversed through the medieval depictions of the Madonna and the Child, we now stop to gaze at the 15th-century masterpieces. Undoubtedly the finest among these is the ‘Madonna and Child’ by the Italian Renaissance artist Filippo Lippi. Considered one of the most lyrical expressions of Lippi’s art, the painting is commonly called ‘The Uffizi Madonna’.
The artist, Filippo Lippi, was born in 1406 in Florence in a poor family. At a tender age, he was sent to the Carmelite friary. However temperamentally he was not suited to be a friar. He is said to have led a colorful life full of lawsuits and scandals. Chaffing against his presumed vocation, in 1456 Lippi abducted a nun, Lucrezia Buti, and married her later. Despite his antics, he won the favor of the Medici’s who patronized his brilliance at work. His terrible vices were often overshadowed by the virtues of his paintings.
The painting into consideration, titled ‘The Madonna and Child’ spells love at every sight. The Blessed Virgin is seated on a throne, of which only the soft embroidered cushion and the carved arm is visible. She gently gazes downwards, her hands clasped in prayer. Her humble appearance emphasizes her humanity as the young girl of Nazareth chosen to be the Mother of God.