"Pala Alessandri" Description in english (FIlippo Lippi)



The Pala Alessandri (San Lorenzo Enthroned with Saints Cosmas and Damian and donors) is a work of Filippo Lippi, tempera on canvas (120.9 Central x105, 9 cm, lateral 72.4 x38, 1 cm), dating from around 1453 and kept at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The story of this painting is controversial, since identification of the work itself: it is probably the table described by Vasari in his Lives, and executed for the church of the villa of the family Vincigliata Alessandri, near Florence. Around 1790 the blade was moved in the family palace in Borgo Albizi in Florence, to be sold on the London market in 1912 and again in New York, entering the ETF since 1935. The date is uncertain: in general, criticism places it among the mid-forties and early fifties of the fifteenth century. Some speculate that it was a wedding gift to the family of the Geneva Alessandri, who married Giovanni di Cosimo de ‘Medici, 20 January 1453. It is believed that the altarpiece was originally formed from a single panel, then dismembered over the centuries, and then reassembled in its present form of a triptych. The reconstruction involved the rebuilding of large areas of the base and the legs of St. Lawrence (Zeri, 1971). Another kneeling figure was almost completely lost, while the painted surface is damaged or lost, but the undamaged areas show the quality of the masterful hand of Lippi. The subject is devotional Lorenzo saints, Cosmas and Damian, patrons of the Medici family of Florence, where the Alexanders were in fact supporters. The saint is located right on the wing of St. Benedict, while on the left of the saint’s identity is doubtful. It can be assumed that the group of donors, kneeling at the foot of St. Lawrence, is a portrait of the children of Alessandro Alessandri, Antonio, the saint then would identify with St. Anthony, the son of the noble surname. Remains a theory without confirmation, since we can not determine precisely which of the five children is depicted. The arrangement of the saints is unusual for Lippi, who preferred to place the center position Maria: It is likely that the painter has made this decision following a specific request.


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