The frescoes of stories from St Stephen and St John the Baptist are considered to be among Fra Filippo Lippi's most important works. These two cycles of frescoes, painted on opposing walls at Prato Cathedral, are balanced. The birth of the saints face each other, the mid-range mirrors their life work and their deaths are shown at the bottom. Perhaps the most famous scene is the Feast of Herod, a gruesome story depicted as a Florentine dinner party with the guests witnessing a beautiful dancer who ultimately presents her master with a severed head!
Feast of Herod c1452-1460. Prato Cathedral. (w)
This fresco shows three episodes within the same painting. The beheading of John the Baptist, Salome entertaining the guests with her dancing, and Salome presenting the severed head to Herod.
Salome Dancing. detail
Prato Cathedral. (w)
Stories from St Stephen and St John the Baptist. Prato Cathedral. (W) c.1460. Fresco Duomo, Prato.
This is the funeral of St Stephen.
The Coronation of the Virgin (w)
The kneeling figure of a monk on the right is reputed to be a self-portrait of the artist.
The Coronation of the Virgin of 1441 was painted for S. Ambrogio and shows the Virgin surrounded by saints, angels and monks.