Robert Browning: Poems Summary and Analysis of “Fra Lippo Lippi” The poem begins as the painter and monk Lippo Lippi, also the poem’s. Considered one of Browning’s finest dramatic monologues, “Fra Lippo Lippi” is written in blank verse that allows Browning free expression of colloquial vigour. In the poem ‘Fra Lippo Lippi’, Browning emphasizes the fact that Lippi was one of the first painters to break with formal traditions of ecclesiastical painting which.

Author: Akirg Todal
Country: Kazakhstan
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Environment
Published (Last): 24 March 2012
Pages: 273
PDF File Size: 19.11 Mb
ePub File Size: 5.28 Mb
ISBN: 899-3-73187-470-6
Downloads: 68883
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Togor

The poem is written in blank verse with each line following the meter of iambic pentameter. There are browming beats per line, each beginning with a unstressed syllable, and ending with a stressed.

It is important that this poem not be confined by a rhyme scheme as Browning needs ljppo lines to sound like a conversation is taking place. This helps the reader imagine that they too are participating in the rapid story telling. The poem begins with the painter being accosted by a number of a policemen.

He claims to be on his way home and not, as they think, stopping to visit a brothel. He mocks them for their mistake and reveals that he is a monk in the employee of the powerful Cosimo Medici. The officers are taken aback by this and release the monk but Lippi still feels the need to justify himself. He launches into the story of how he ended up there that night. He heard music out his window, climbed down to the street, and joined up with the procession of musicians.

After celebrating for a time he was on his way home, when he was stopped. Still not satisfied that they understand him, Lippo decides to tell them about his childhood and how he grew up on the street. Both of his parents died when he was young and he was forced to beg for scraps from men and dogs. He did this for a number of years before being taken into a monastery. There, he was finally able to eat his fill and indulge in his affinity for idleness. The monks attempted to make him study and learn Latin, but he says it was a waste of time.

They then noticed his abilities at painting and decide that is what he should focus on. He does so, painting everything he sees, but the Prior of the monastery is not happy with what he has made. The Prior wants more soul in the art and the painter wants soul and beauty. Some of the monks are very critical of his work but he claims not to care as he has Cosimo Medici to fall back on. Even so, he does seem hurt by their rebuffs. Due to his harsh treatment at the monastery he rebels by sneaking out in the night, as he did on the night the story is being told.

He informs the guards he is speaking to that there is another young man at the monastery who is going to grow up and act just as he does. He is not an aberration. Lippo continues to speak against the monks but after a time starts to feeling badly, and nervous, about what he has said. He does not want to get in trouble with the church. Lippo tells his listeners that he has a plan to get back in the good graces of the church. He is going to paint a large painting that includes God and the Madonna and child.

This painting will also include a self portrait. At the conclusion of this story he tells the guards his reputation with the church will be restored in six months, and runs off into the night as the sun is rising.


Analysis of Fra Lippo Lippi by Robert Browning

This narrative, told solely from the perspective of the artist Fra Lippo Lippi, begins with the man being accosted by police. He is telling his name to the policemen in the hopes that they will recognize him and let him go. The speaker learns that Lippi is also a monk. Lippi hopes that the men will take offense at his remarks and leave him alone. They are all square in the end. This comment encourages Lippi to launch into the larger story of his life.

Fra Lippo Lippi by Robert Browning

He wants to make sure that he can set this whole situation straight. He believes, or at least says, that they need to know more details of his life. At the beginning of the story it is spring time and the painter is working on a number of paintings, all of which seem to concern saints. This environment is much more desirable to the painter, so after singing along to the songs for a few lines, he makes the decision to descend to the festival.

This church is known today as the burial place for many of the Medici family. This church is located in Florence, Italy, solidifying the setting of the poem. Jerome in the wilderness. This is when the policemen grabbed Lippi and demanded to know what he was doing. He claims, they just mistook his intentions. It does seem that he is entertained by this story though and is prepared to let Lippo continue for a while longer.

The guard is surprised, and judgmental. Lippi attempts to brush this off and claiming camaraderie its the guard, asks that if Cosimo were to approach them that he would say nothing to the story Lippi just told. Soon the other monks were trying to find a use for him. They attempted to make him study and learn Latin. But he found this to be a waste of time. He wants his listeners to remember that this was a very pleasant alternative to living on the streets. It is better than begging for bits of food and trying to judge who will hit him or help him.

Lippi also wants the listeners to know that some of the time he had to fight with dogs for their scraps. While this was a miserable time, he was able to learn a lot about how to judge other people.

The expressions of men that he became so intimate with served as the inspiration for the first portraits he drew. Additionally, he was not afraid of drawing on the walls, something that made the monks very unhappy.

He wanted to paint every type of person and scene. He painted young girls, and even a murderer surrounded by children.

Robert Browning’s “Fra Lippo Lippi”

The poet describes these images vividly. It is easy to see why Lippo was entranced by them and chose to spending time painting them. Lippo has spent a lot of time painting at this point and wants to show off what he has done. This triumph with the monks soon comes to an end as the higher ranking members of the monastery, including the Prior, come to see his work.

He does not consider it proper panting but something from the devil. The Prior wants Lippo to depict the human soul, but even he cannot come to a solid answer about what that is. He tries to articulate his thoughts but is ultimately unable. Since Lippo is already angry, he takes the argument further. He reveals his irritation with the fact that he was taken into the monastery at eight years old when he did not have another choice. This decision has made him miss out on a lot of life that he is interested in.


Lippo is not without choices now that he is grown up. Although Lippo has Cosimo Medici to depend on, the monks still will not leave him alone. They tell Lippo he will not even finish in third place. Lippo spends the next lines of the poem singing another song, similar to that featured in the beginning of the piece. He does try to please the monks sometimes, but sometimes he decides he does not care and paints what he likes.

In this section of the poem the painter informs his listeners that it is not only painting that he wants independence in, but life itself. It is this impulse that his satisfies when he sneaks out of the house. The poet tells a short story that is meant to illustrate his own situation. The earthly pleasure that the horse receives from eating is similar to that which the speaker gets from living and he does not see a problem with it. It seems as if, even though he knows what he wants, he still holds some respect for the monks and wants to know what they really believe.

Many, he states, profess not to like something but do it anyway.

He sees the world as the garden that God created for man and woman. The young man is learning how to paint and will soon be led into the experiences of life.

He tells the guard that neither of them speak Latin, so they should have a similar opinion. The speaker is hoping that the guard will understand his impulse liopi paint and reproduce the world in which they live.

Fra Lippo Lippi

The painter anticipates an argument from the guard and preemptively mentions it. God gave man art growning this purpose. Lippo states that he would be able to fix it with only a piece of chalk. His purpose in life is to find the meaning in the world, that is the only reason he has been put on earth.

It does not tell the common people that they need to come to church. The people of Florence have defaced his painting, they do not understand what he frq trying to. In the beginning of this section of lines Lippo is backtracking. He does not want the guards to get too upset about what he has said and report him.

It was common practice during the Renaissance for painters to add themselves into large scale paintings, often times as commoners, or unremarkable observers of a scene. Even within the confines of the planned painting, Lippo does not feel like he belongs in the religious world. The angels want to play games with lippj painter and close to door to the room.

He quickly jumps out of this narrative, back into the original story he had been telling the guards. After he paints this complex picture everything will be right with the church.

Lippo runs from the guards at this point, stating that he is not in need of help or any kind of light. Robert Browning was born in Camberwell, London in May of