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Currently shown
Andrea di Bartolo

Madonna of Humility

Artist

Andrea di Bartolo
Active in Siena, 1389-1428

Title

Madonna of Humility

Date

About 1400

Materials

Tempera on wood

Dimensions

56.2 x 38.4 cm

Credits

Purchase, John W. Tempest Fund, inv. 1954.1099

Collection

Western Art

Representations of the Madonna of Humility seated in a flowery context became quite popular in Europe in the fourteenth century as a private, meditational counter-image to the formal representations of the Enthroned Madonna, expressing one of her own attributes and alluding to the enclosed garden of her virginity. Few biographical details are known about this Sienese Master from whom we identify thirteen autograph panels of this Madonna of Humility. The Child clutches a goldfinch, an allusion to His Passion (goldfinches eat thorns). The rooster on the virginal robe suggests the Resurrection. These poignant references to His Death change the tenor of the painting from one of familial intimacy to that of pietistic reverence and reflection. The work maintains the lyrical and tender depiction of human relationships characteristic of the Sienese school, and the figure of the Virgin appears as an elegant silhouette, its treatment of surfaces more decorative than in Florentine painting.

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