Francescuccio Ghissi
Madonna of Humility

Circa 1350-55
Tempera and gold on wood
Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome

This image exemplifies the growing naturalism of 14th-century Madonnas. The child wears a loose wrap, his chest is exposed, and like many actual babies he does not yet have much hair. And, of course, he is nursing.

The title, provided by the Pinacoteca, refers to the type of Madonna image in which Mary sits on the floor or the bare ground. In some examples she nurses the child, as here. In others, she worships the child, who lies horizontally on her lap.

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Read more about the Madonna and Child.

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