About the Cover

The Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist and Saint Margaret, c. 1495
Cleveland Museum of Art

Filippino Lippi (Italian, 1457–1504)

Italy, 15th century

Tempera and oil on wood

Framed: 184 x 186 x 9.5 cm (72 7/16 x 73 1/4 x 3 3/4 in.); Diameter: 153 cm (60 1/4 in.)

The Delia E. Holden Fund and a fund donated as a memorial to Mrs. Holden by her children: Guerden S. Holden, Delia Holden White, Roberta Holden Bole, Emery Holden Greenough, Gertrude Holden McGinley 1932.227


This painting is known as a tondo, which is Italian for “round.” This circular painting style became popular in Italy during the 15th century and was commonly created for settings such as private homes or palaces. This composition was commissioned by Oliviero Caraffa, Cardinal of Naples who likely selected the theme and the subject of the painting, which represents the divine motherhood, one of the most recurrent themes of Christian art from the period. The painting overlaps five figures with meticulously detailed still-life elements rich with symbolism and includes representations of classical architecture. The combination is said to reflect the artist’s interest in northern European painting and his interest in ancient Roman art and architecture.


Filippino Lippi was born around 1457 to painter Fra Filippo Lippi and a young nun named Lucrezia Buti. He first trained under his father and, following his death, he entered the workshop of Sandro Botticellio before going out on his own to become one of the most accomplished Renaissance painters of the late 15th century.


Lippi F. The Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist and Saint Margaret, c. 1495. The Cleveland Museum of Art. https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1932.227

Tondo. Encyclopedia Brittanica. https://www.britannica.com/art/tondo-art

Fliegel SN. Filippino Lippi's Holy Family. La gazzetta Italiana. Published January 2016. https://www.lagazzettaitaliana.com/history-culture/7922-filippino-lippi-s-holy-family

Lippi F. The Holy Family with Saint John the Baptist and Saint Margaret, c. 1495. Artsy.net. https://www.artsy.net/artwork/filippino-lippi-the-holy-family-with-saint-john-the-baptist-and-saint-margaret


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