(b. 1412, Firenze, d. 1468, Firenze)

Madonna of Humility with Two Musician Angels

Panel, 84 x 57 cm
Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan

The Virgin is sitting on a gold-embroidered red cushion, embellished with two tassels. She is wearing a red dress and blue cloak with green edging; a veil of a beautiful violet colour falls from her head with a star attached. This attribute derives from stella maris, the Latin translation of the Hebrew name for Mary, Miriam. In her right hand she holds a white lily, symbol of purity, while her left rests on the Child’s shoulder as he sits in her lap. Low down two musician angels are playing a viola da braccio and a portable organ, with absorbed melancholic expressions. A golden cloth hangs in the background, made with a gold leaf splendidly incised to imitate the softness and weft of the material.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 6 minutes):
Josquin Desprez: Benedicta es coelorum Regina, motet