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Madonna of Humility, portable altarpiece

Andrea di Bartolo

European Art

This devotional triptych (a painting on three panels) was intended for use in a private chapel or a corner of the home. The Virgin is depicted sitting directly on the ground instead of on a throne, a so-called Madonna of Humility, which emphasizes her humble, relatable position as a mother. The triptych would not have hung flat on a wall but rather stood on its own base on a table, with its two sides opened at an angle to the central panel. The intimate scale and enclosing configuration invited pious viewers to immerse themselves in the sacred.
MEDIUM Tempera and tooled gold on poplar panels
  • Place Made: Italy
  • DATES ca. 1410
    DIMENSIONS Central panel: 16 11/16 x 7 1/8 in. (42.4 x 18.1 cm) Side panels: 15 15/16 x 3 1/4 in. (40.5 x 8.3 cm)  (show scale)
    INSCRIPTIONS On scroll of the Angel Annunciate: "AVE MA"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Mary Babbott Ladd, Lydia Babbott Stokes, and Frank L. Babbott, Jr. in memory of their father Frank L. Babbott
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Center Panel: Madonna of Humility Pinnacle: Christ the Redeemer Left wing: Saint Anthony Abbot; the Angel Annunciate Right wing: Saint James Major; the Virgin Annunciate
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Andrea di Bartolo (Italian, Sienese, active by 1389, died 1428). Madonna of Humility, portable altarpiece, ca. 1410. Tempera and tooled gold on poplar panels, Central panel: 16 11/16 x 7 1/8 in. (42.4 x 18.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mary Babbott Ladd, Lydia Babbott Stokes, and Frank L. Babbott, Jr. in memory of their father Frank L. Babbott, 34.839 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 34.839_SL3.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 34.839_SL3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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