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Lippo Memmi

Italian International Gothic Painter of the Sienese School

1285 -1361

Stylistically influenced by the following painters; His brother-in-law the artist Simone Martini, Coppo di Marcovaldo, and  Duccio di Buoninsegna

Cause of Death - Plague


Lippo Memmi was part of interesting circle of artists who flocked around the illustrious Simone Martini.  Memmi was brother-in-law to the great artist and was heavily by Martini's use of form and color. Martini had a enormously influential effect on all the young painters of Siena. They flocked to his busy studio watching the master in action.
Like Siena painters of his generation the prevailing characteristic of Memmi's work being slender, supple grace. True poetry emerges in his St Peter panel, Peter is no longer severe and dignified, but temperate and merciful, as if he has  pity upon the longing soul of the believer. In a  deeply moving way Memmi gives his figures a mystical air. His use of glittering golds and beautiful kewel tones remind us of Byzantine painting.
 His themes, like his contemporaries, are all religious – the Virgin Mary, the Life of Christ, the Apostles, Angeles and the Life of St. Francis.  
Many of the exceptional masterpieces of the Sienese School are housed in the renowned Civic Museum inside the Palazzo Pubblico overlooking the Piazza del Campo. The Palazzo Pubblico was built in the early 1300s by the Government of Nove. The building is a masterpiece of  medieval urban architecture. In the Great Council Hall there are extraordinary frescoes by Martini depicting a beautiful Maestà and next door, in the Hall of Nine there is the amazing fresco cycle by Ambrogio Lorenzetti showing the Allegory and Effects of Good and Bad Government.

Sienese Painting

While Byzantine art is strict and aloof, Sienese painting possesses a mystic sincerity.  It seems as if the stone vaults of the churches had suddenly become transparent, and the eyes gazed upwards towards heaven, where tender ethereal beings, singing and praising the Highest, lived in eternal youth and lovingly gazed down upon mankind. Origen Adamantius, an early Christian theologian stated "If all things were made through Him, clearly so must the splendid revelations have been which were made to the fathers and prophets, and became to them the symbols of the sacred mysteries of religion." Simone Martini discovered in his own art a new world of emotion and passion, but with a new expressiveness and understanding of color.

Key Descriptive Words  and Phrases associated with the Renaissance Movementrebirth, rediscovery of the classical world,  publication of Della Pittura, a book about the laws of mathematical perspective for artists,  sfumato, symbolism, chiaroscuro, Savonarola, spiritually significant illuminated manuscript,  idealized biblical themes, scriptorium, illuminator, plague, Age of Discovery, curiosity about the natural world,  realistic use of colors and  light,  Bonfire of the Vanities, Old Testament stories, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parables, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism.



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