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Lippo di Dalmasio, The Madonna of Humility

Key facts
Full title The Madonna of Humility
Artist Lippo di Dalmasio
Artist dates about 1353? - 1410
Date made about 1390
Medium and support Egg tempera on canvas
Dimensions 110 × 88.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1866
Inventory number NG752
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Madonna of Humility
Lippo di Dalmasio

Lippo di Dalmasio painted several images of the Virgin of Humility, so-called because she is shown sitting on the ground. Here she sits in a grassy meadow holding the Christ Child on her lap. Mother and child are absorbed in each other, and the infant Christ tugs at her veil as any baby might.

The tender scene of maternal love is raised beyond the purely earthly through the inclusion of the planets. The semi-circle of real gold leaf behind the figures represents the sun; Lippo has scored the soft metal to create its rays. The Virgin’s halo is circled with 12 stars and she has at her feet a silver crescent moon. The inclusion of stars and planets recalls the Woman of the Apocalypse, mentioned in the New Testament as, ‘clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of 12 stars’ (Revelation 12: 1).

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