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The Madonna of Humility with Saints and Angels
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The Madonna of Humility with Saints and Angels

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description The Master of the Straus Madonna is the name given by art historians to an anonymous Florentine painter whose best known work is a “Madonna and Child” in the Straus Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas. In this elegant devotional panel by him the Virgin Mary is shown as the “Madonna of Humility"—she is not enthroned as Queen of Heaven but seated low on the ground on a cushion, stressing her role as a humble mother. Behind Mary are two praying angels; two more angels play music in the foreground. Standing to the left is Saint Bernard, wearing a white habit and holding a crozier (a liturgical staff), and Florence’s patron saint, John the Baptist, carrying a scroll with his prophecy claiming Christ as the “Lamb of God.” At the right is Saint Julian, dressed as a knight and carrying a sword, and the bishop Saint Nicholas, carrying three pieces of gold in reference to his charity. Above the Madonna, the tiny figure of God the Father sends the dove of the Holy Spirit toward her and the Christ Child. God is flanked by two angels carrying attributes of the Madonna: the angel at the right carries a lily, the flower presented to Mary by Gabriel when he announced Christ’s conception, and the angel at the left carries a palm frond, which Gabriel presented to Mary when he announced her death. Christ's crucifixion appears in the gable (uppermost section of the frame) as an omnipresent reminder of his sacrifice for humankind.
Date Description Narrative
3/09/1981Examinationexamined for condition
  • The International Style: The Arts in Europe Around 1400. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1962.
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unknown] [1897 catalogue: no. 13, as A. Cenino, about 1437]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902

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ca. 1400 (Renaissance)
tempera and gold leaf on panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H with base and finial: 51 5/16 x W: 28 7/8 x D: 1 3/8 in. (130.3 x 73.3 x 3.5 cm); Painted surface H: 37 3/16 x W: 20 1/4 in. (94.5 x 51.5 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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