Filippino Lippi, one of the most remarkable Renaissance painters, decorated one of the Santa Maria Novella church chapels with gorgeous murals, depicting stories of Saint Philip and Saint John the Evangelist. This chapel's patron was Filippo Strozzi, the magnificent and imposing Palazzo Strozzi's owner and donor.
The Santa Maria Novella Strozzi chapel is a jubilant appearance of colours. In my opinion the scene depicting Saint Philip chasing the filthy monster coming off the monument to Mars the god is spectacular.
was preaching in Hyerapolis, when some pagans tried to force him to worship Mars and to sacrifice to him. At once, a horrible demon came off the monument base, killing the pagan priests'sons and smothering all the participants with his mortal smell, before Saint Philip defeated him and chased him away.
Filippino depicted even the disgusting stench released by the creature, represented with an iridescent colours shell. You can admire dazzling colours everywhere in this chapel: Filippino depicted the temple of Mars in a very fantastic way. As a matter of fact, he had travelled to Rome in the 1480s, and had seen many and many ancient Roman ruins -farmuch more than those we can see nowadays- like columns, statues, palaces, milestones. He was so impressed that, when at home in Florence again, he started depicting fantasy costructions like the temple of Mars:imposing architectural elements, coloured “panoplies” and statues assembled in a way that reminds of an ancient, lost, mythical past. This genius was also criticized by some Art Historians for his extravagant imaginery..!
One more “exotic” detail: in the same scene, one the right, one can notice a very elegant dressed-up-in-white Moorish man, wearing an extremely tall turbant. It seems to be a portait of the Filippo Strozzi's moorish slave...
This wonderful chapel can be visited alongside me every day getting my private walking tour of Florence, any time the Santa Maria Novella church is open..!