Knights of the Art
The little curly-haired Filippino, left in the charge of good Fra Diamante, soon showed
that he meant to be a painter like his father. When, as a little boy, he drew his pictures
and showed them proudly to his mother, he told her that he, too, would learn some day to
be a great artist. And she, half smiling, would pat his curly head and tell him that he
could at least try his best.
Then, after that sad day when Lucrezia heard of Filippo's death, and the happy little home
was broken up, Fra Diamante began in earnest to train the boy who had been left under
his care. He had plenty of money, for Filippo had been well paid for the work at Spoleto,
and so it was decided that the boy should be placed in some studio where he could be
taught all that was necessary.
There was no fear of Filippino ever wandering about the Florentine streets cold and
hungry as his father had done. And his training was very different too. Instead of the
convent and the kind monks, he was placed under the care of a great painter, and worked
in the master's studio with other boys as well off as himself.
The name of Filippino's master was Sandro Botti- celli, a Florentine artist, who had been
one of Filippo's pupils and had worked with him in Prato. Fra Diamante knew that he was
the greatest artist now in Florence, and that he would be able to teach the child better than
any one else.
Filippino was a good, industrious boy, and had none of the faults which had so often led
his father into so much mischief and so many strange adventures. His boyhood passed
quietly by and he learned all that his master could teach him, and then began to paint his
Strangely enough, his first work was to paint the walls of the Carmille Chapel--that same
chapel where Filippo and Diamante had learned their lessons, and had gazed with such
awe and reverence on Masaccio's work.
The great painter, Ugly Tom, was dead, and there were still parts of the chapel
unfinished, so Filippino was invited to fill the empty spaces with his work. No need for
the new prior to warn this young painter against the sin of painting earthly pictures. The
frescoes which daily grew beneath Filippino's hands were saintly and beautiful. The tall
angel in flowing white robes who so gently leads St. Peter out of the prison door, shines
with a pure fair light that speaks of Heaven. The sleeping soldier looks in contrast all the
more dull and heavy, while St. Peter turns his eyes towards his gentle guide and folds his
hands in reverence, wrapped in the soft reflected light of that fair face. And on the
opposite wall, the sad face of St. Peter looks out through the prison bars, while a brother
saint stands outside, and with uplifted hand speaks comforting words to the poor prisoner.