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Madonna and Child with Saints Jerome and Dominic - Filippino Lippi. 203.2x186.1
Filippino Lippi (c. 1457-1504) - Italian Renaissance painter, master of the Florentine school, student of Sandro Botticelli, and some researchers consider his talent more powerful.
This altar was written for the funeral chapel of the Rucellai family in the new church of San Pankrazio in Florence, owned by the Wallobrozians, reformed Benedictine monks.
Virgin Mary feeding the baby Christ, is represented in the most ancient iconographic type “Virgo Lactans” (from Latin - “Nursing Virgin”). The image was an expression of a cult that was common in the 16th century. in Italy (almost all churches claimed that they kept the holy relic - the milk of the Virgin Mary).
Saint Jerome, as a translator of the Bible, personifies theological scholarship; living in the desert and indulging in repentance, he is depicted as a hermit. Saint Dominic, the founder of the Dominican Order, is dressed in his clothes - a white tunic and a shoulder strap under a long black cloak with a hood. He holds a lily (a sign of chastity) and a book (gospel).
Details that at first glance seem inconspicuous and secondary, have important symbolic meaning. They make up some scenery for the images of the main characters. So, in the background behind the Virgin Mary with the Baby, far on a hillside, a figure on a donkey is depicted - this is, of course, the husband of Mary Saint Joseph. Saint Jerome is shown against the background of the cave, the entrance to which is protected by a lion, its traditional attribute (according to legend, the saint healed the beast by removing a splinter from its paw, and thereby tamed it). To the right, behind St. Dominic, in the background is the building of the almshouse - a hint of his merciful activity.
All the numerous and diverse components that are important for the altar image are combined by the artist into a single harmonious whole, which makes this creation a masterpiece of Italian art of the 15th century.