Madonna of Humility
Virgin and Child
Giovanni di Paolo, Italian (Sienese), about 1399–1482 Italian (Sienese)
61.9 x 48.9 cm (24 3/8 x 19 1/4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Tempera on panel
Italian Renaissance Gallery E (Gallery 219)
Giovanni di Paolo preferred to emphasize religious sentiment and decorative patterning rather than the illusion of depth and three-dimensional form. In this work, the Virgin, seated on the ground to indicate her humility, cradles her child against a backdrop of strawberries and wildflowers and a sheltering screen of fruit trees. In the distance stretches a landscape of cultivated fields, stony roads, and fortified towns. Still in its original frame and in a near-perfect state of preservation, this panel exemplifies the lyrical quality of Sienese painting.