Filippino Lippi: The apparition of the Virgin to Saint Bernard (1480)

(Badia Fiorentina, Florence, Italy)

A painting by the Italian artist Filippino Lippi (1457 – 1504). This altarpiece was commissioned by Piero di Francesco Del Pugliese (1430 – 1498) for the chapel of Francesco del Pugliese, his father. The painting shows the French abbot saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 – 1153) who is writing on his lectern. The saint is visited by the virgin Mary with several angels. Behind the saint, in a small cave, a devil is biting his chains - this is a reference to mary as the liberator of humanity from the chains of their sins. Above the saint, in the upper right corner, several Cistercian monks can be seen - saint Bernard of Clairvaux was a reformer of this order. The man in lower right corner is the patron Piero di Francesco Del Pugliese. Painting from 1480.