Memmi, Lippo

(c. 1285-c. 1361)
   Italian painter from the Sienese school. Lippo Memmi was the brother-in-law of Simone Martini, whom he assisted and whose painting style he adopted. The lateral panels showing Sts. Ansanus and Margaret in the Uffizi Annunciation (1333) by Martini have been attributed to Memmi. Memmi's most important commission is the Maestà in the Palazzo Comunale at San Gimignano (1317). This fresco, based on Martini's of the same subject (1311-1317) in the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, was commissioned by Nello di Mino Tolomei, Captain of the People of San Gimignano. Tolomei is included in the scene, kneeling in front of the enthroned Virgin and Child in the center of the composition, as is his coat-of-arms on the canopy above the figures. Not coincidentally did Memmi use a similar format to Martini's fresco in the Palazzo Pubblico. San Gimignano was controlled by Siena, and Memmi's fresco made clear that Tolomei was in charge of enforcing Sienese rule. Also attributed to Memmi is the Madonna dei Raccomandati (c. 1320) in the Chapel of the Corporal in the Orvieto Cathedral, a work that presents the Virgin offering her protection to the city's inhabitants who kneel in prayer under her mantle. The attribution has been an issue of debate among art historians, though a signature accompanies the work that identifies its author as "Lippus de Sena."

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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