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Nativity with St. George and St. Vincenzo Ferrer

The fine altarpiece with the Nativity, on display in the room on Filippi Lippi and the Prato Workshop, was probably commissioned for the church of San Domenico. The intervention of the Lippi workshop in the angels and the St. George does not detract from the beauty of the composition, which is inserted into a harsh rocky landscape. The picture shows the skill of the master in the figures of the animated St. Vincent, the delicate Madonna (which might be a portrait of Lucrezia Buti) and the St. Joseph, with its original pose. 

Vasari saw the painting with the Nativity in the church of San Domenico, for which it had probably been commissioned. Finally, it passed to the Municipality in 1867. The theme of the adoration of the Child, partly based on the vision of St. Bridget, was proposed various times by Lippi in similar forms. Here however the artist creates a compact composition, the group being wholly gathered in the foreground and standing out from the barren, uniform landscape with the jutting rocks on which the announcement to the shepherds is taking place. The main figures form a kind of inverted pyramid with the Child at the top, the centre of the composition. The intervention of the workshop in the angels and St. George (rather stiffly rendered) does not detract from the effectiveness of the composition, which shows the master’s high skill in the animated St. Vincent Ferrer (canonised in 1455), the spellbound St. Joseph, and the delicate profile of the Virgin Mary, probably inspired by Lucrezia Buti, as the similarities of this figure with the St. Margaret in the Madonna of the Belt altarpiece (in this same room of the museum) would suggest. The panel was damaged by a fire in the church in 1647; it was then stolen by the Napoleonic troops in 1810 and restored 7 years later. Finally, it passed to the Municipality in 1867.

Other works in the same room by Filippo Lippi are: The Ceppo Madonna and the Annunciation, with St. Julian.