Stories of Prato:
People of Prato

From Lippi to contemporary artists

The evidence of the relationship between the city and the art

Prato has a fascinating and rich artistic and cultural heritage. Many people who left an important imprint on the Italian cultural scene were either born here or lived in this city. It was in the 15th century that the city first took on a key role in the history of art, as the construction of the Cathedral brought together the best craftsmen of the time, from Donatello to Michelozzo. The culmination of this work came in 1452, when Filippo Lippi decorated the main chapel with the Stories of St. Stephen and St. John the Baptist, creating a magnificent masterwork that was the source of inspiration for many painters of the next generation. According to Keith Christiansen, one of the world’s leading Renaissance art experts, "we cannot understand the Renaissance unless we know Prato".
It can therefore be asserted that in the course of the 15th century Prato, a busy trading and textile manufacturing Tuscan town, became the cradle of a radical revolution in Italian art thanks to the work of Filippo and Filippino Lippi and other important masters.

The relationship between city and art was consolidated over the course of the centuries through artists such as Ferdinando Tacca, who worked as bronze sculptor for Ferdinando II and Cosimo II de Medici, and Lorenzo Bartolini, one of the most important Italian sculptors active between the 18th and 19th centuries, an impressive collection of whose work can be admired in the Palazzo Pretorio Museum.
Cultural dynamism has characterized the city of Prato in more recent times as well. The twentieth century produced prominent painters such as Ardengo Soffici, considered the founder in the 1930s of the "School of Prato", whose members included Arrigo del Rigo, Quinto Martini, Giulio Petrucci, Gino Brogi, Oscar Gallo and Leonetto Tintori.

This artistic fervour continued into the 1970s, with the birth of what is called "Prato Neonaturalism", associated with the names of Sergio Fiaschi, Anna Sanesi, Adon Brachi, and Rinaldo Frank Burattin. All the protagonists of the twentieth-century Prato art scene have been authors and proponents of works characterized by boldness, talent, moral determination, curiosity and openness towards national and international artistic experiences.