Rogue Angel: A Novel of Fra Lippo Lippi

Carol Damioli, Author, Adolfo Caso, Editor Dante University of America Press $21.95 (247p) ISBN 978-0-937832-33-2
The celestial harmonies of Fra Filippo Lippi (1406-1469), a leading Florentine painter of the early Renaissance, make a stark contrast to his dissipated, licentious life as re-created in this robust fictionalized portrait. An unruly orphan (his mother died when he was born, his father two years later), Lippi discovered his artistic gift in a Carmelite monastery, which he left for the pleasures of women and liquor. Damioli, a Chicago journalist, ably charts impetuous, art-obsessed Lippi's growing maturity under the guidance of his collaborator, the painter Masaccio; his strained relationship with the indulgent patron Cosimo de' Medici; and his reluctant marriage, at age 50, to the 23-year-old nun he seduced. Handsomely illustrated with black-and-white reproductions of Lippi's works, Damioli's straightforward, well-researched narrative plunges readers into the vortex of Medici politics, Papal intrigue, artistic rivalries, creativity and lust. She also paints a startlingly vivid picture of violent, disease-ridden Florence, taking us inside its guilds, taverns, bordellos, slums, prisons and elaborate pageants, which ``helped distract the masses from their powerlessness.'' (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
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