Saint Lawrence Enthroned with Saints and Donors

Fra Filippo Lippi Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 603

Saint Lawrence is shown enthroned, his feet resting on the grill on which he was martyred. He is flanked by Saints Cosmas and Damian, whose cult was closely associated with the powerful Medici family. The imagery reflects the political allegiances of Alessandro Alessandri (1391–1460), who commissioned it as an altarpiece for his family’s church at Vincigliata in the hills above Florence. A Florentine merchant and a member of its civic government, he kneels with his two sons in the foreground. The robes of the three saints feature a pseudo-Arabic script, which acts as an intellectual reference but is not intended to be readable. Pseudo-scripts, a common phenomenon in fifteenth-century Italian painting, speak to the region’s close relationship with the eastern Mediterranean.

Saint Lawrence Enthroned with Saints and Donors, Fra Filippo Lippi (Italian, Florence ca. 1406–1469 Spoleto), Tempera on wood, gold ground

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