Apparition of the Virgin to St Bernard (Filippino Lippi)
|Type||Oil on panel|
|Dimensions||210 cm × 195 cm (83 in × 77 in)|
The picture was commissioned for the chapel of Francesco del Pugliese by the latter's son Piero, who is portrayed in the lower right corner in the traditional praying posture of the donor.
It is one of the most admired Lippi's works, due to its powerful, Flemish-inspired chromatism and attention to details, which contribute in turning the mystical apparition of the Virgin to St. Bernard into an everyday life scene. The composition is set in a rocky landscape in which the saint, while writing on his lectern, is suddenly visited by the Virgin. Behind Bernard's shoulders is depicted the demon biting his chains: this is a reference to a medieval hymn celebrating the Virgin as the liberator of humanity from the chains of their sins.
Some scholars have identified in the faces of the Virgin and the angels on the left the portraits of the committent's wife and sons
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