Filippino Lippi: Student, Collaborator, and Rival of Botticelli (Online Webinar)

Tuesday, Nov 22, 2022 3 – 4 pm

500 N. Michigan Ave, Ste 1450, Chicago, IL 60611

Presented by prof. Jonathan Nelson

Prof. Jonathan Nelson presents a talk that focuses on works in the “Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi” exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, to explore the genius of Filippino Lippi, of the most creative Florentine painter in the late 1400s, starting from his origins at Botticelli’s finest student. These early works also offer a glimpse at the inner workings of a Renaissance workshop. Botticelli even collaborated on several paintings with the young Filippino, who then developed his own distinctive style. In time, Filippino was in greater demand than Botticelli. Celebrated as “ingenious” in 1550, Filippino was highly praised and influential, then he, like Botticelli, fell out of favor and was forgotten for centuries. Both painters were rediscovered by the English poet Swinburne, who in 1868 celebrated Filippino’s “inventive enjoyment and indefatigable fancy.”  Today we can find the same qualities in this artist who had the sensitivity to understand the diverse needs of different patrons and the ability to express them with highly original solutions.

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Jonathan Nelson is a Teaching Professor at Syracuse University, Florence; Research Associate at the Kennedy School of Harvard University; and co-editor of the “Elements in Renaissance” series of Cambridge University Press. He is the leading specialist on Filippino Lippi: in 2004 he co-authored a major monograph in Italian and co-curated a major exhibition in Florence; in 2022, he published “Filippino Lippi: An Abundance of Invention.” He has also written volumes dedicated to Michelangelo, Leonardo, Botticelli, Sister Plautilla Nelli, and Robert Mapplethorpe.

The lecture series “Quattrocento Florence: the City and its Artists” is co-sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago and the Newberry Library's Center for Renaissance Studies and complements the Minneapolis Institute of Art exhibition “Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi.” Four art historians explore urbanism and the production of art in fifteenth-century Florence through close analysis of works in the MIA exhibition. 

The exhibition “Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi” is open at the Minneapolis Institute of Art from October 16, 2022 through January 8, 2023. For more information, visit