Lorenzo and Jacopo Salimbeni, Madonna and Child with Saints

Oratory of St. John the Baptist, Urbino, Italy

At the center is a "Madonna of Humility," an iconographic type in which the Virgin Mary sits on a floor or the bare ground with the child on her lap or knee. Often the child in this genre will be suckling at his mother's breast, and in 15th-century paintings he is usually naked. Both those features emphasize the child's humanness, which is very much the effect of the present image of a baby sleeping placidly on his mother's knee.

On the left, St. John the Baptist wears the same red mantle and camel-hair tunic seen in the other panels in the Oratory frescos. His scroll reads ECCE ANGU[S], a misspelled form of Ecce agnus dei ("Behold the Lamb of God," John 1:29).

On the right, the saint resembles John's father Zacharias in facial features, beard, and hairline. But in other frescoes in the oratory Zacharias is always pictured with a square halo and never with a book, so the identification of this figure is uncertain.

At the top, the four men with square halos are Old Testament figures. The scroll held by the one on the left reads ISAIE, that is, Isaiah. The letters that can be made out on the other scrolls do not correspond to any of the prophets to whom books of the Bible are ascribed.

In the Virgin Mary's halo are twelve small medallions with portraits of what I take to be apostles. In the large medallion Christ bears fresh wounds in his side and right hand. The burst of light behind him and the vexillum he holds are common features of images of the Resurrection.

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Photographed at the Oratory by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.