Knights of the Art
We must now go back to the days when Fra Filippo Lippi painted his pictures and so
brought fame to the Carmine Convent.
There was at that time in Florence a good citizen called Mariano Filipepi, an honest,
well-to-do man, who had several sons. These sons were all taught carefully and well
trained to do each the work he chose. But the fourth son, Alessandro, or Sandro as he was
called, was a great trial to his father. He would settle to no trade or calling. Restless and
uncertain, he turned from one thing to another. At one time he would work with all his
might, and then again become as idle and fitful as the summer breeze. He could learn
well and quickly when he chose, but then there were so few things that he did choose to
learn. Music he loved, and he knew every song of the birds, and anything connected with
flowers was a special joy to him. No one knew better than he how the different kinds of
roses grew, and how the lilies hung upon their stalks.
`And what, I should like to know, is going to be the use of all this,' the good father would
say impatiently, `as long as thou takest no pains to read and write and do thy sums? What
am I to do with such a boy, I wonder?'
Then in despair the poor man decided to send Sandro to a neighbour's workshop, to see if
perhaps his hands would work better than his head.
The name of this neighbour was Botticelli, and he was a goldsmith, and a very excellent
master of his art. He agreed to receive Sandro as his pupil, so it happened that the boy
was called by his master's name, and was known ever after as Sandro Botticelli.
Sandro worked for some time with his master, and quickly learned to draw designs for
the goldsmith's work.
In those days painters and goldsmiths worked a great deal together, and Sandro often saw
designs for pictures and listened to the talk of the artists who came to his master's shop.
Gradually, as he looked and listened, his mind was made up. He would become a painter.
All his restless longings and day dreams turned to this. All the music that floated in the
air as he listened to the birds' song, the gentle dancing motion of the wind among the
trees, all the colours of the flowers, and the graceful twinings of the rose-stems--all these
he would catch and weave into his pictures. Yes, he would learn to painst music and
motion, and then he would be happy.
`So now thou wilt become a painter,' said his father, with a hopeless sigh.
Truly this boy was more trouble than all the rest put together. Here he had just settled
down to learn how to become a good goldsmith, and now he wished to try his hand at
something else. Well, it was no use saying `no.' The boy could never be made to do
anything but what he wished. There was the Carmelite monk Fra Filippo Lippi, of whom