Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

This innovative late work by the Sienese painter Taddeo di Bartolo has been identified with an altar painting formerly in the Church of San Domenico in the Umbrian town of Gubbio. Unusually, it is signed in the row of golden quatrefoils at the base: “Taddeo of Siena painted this work in 1418.” Although at first glance it looks as though the central figures are enthroned, they are in a nest of red, flame-like seraphim, angels whose fiery appearance was believed to inspire divine love. Kneeling on a bed of lush vegetation below, a chorus of eight angels forms a garland at the Virgin’s feet. They lift a scroll displaying the Regina Coeli, an ancient Marian hymn sung at vespers and during the celebration of Easter. This prayer was especially popular with the mendicant orders.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Taddeo di Bartolo, Italian (c. 1362/3 - 1422)
The Virgin and Child with Angels
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Madonna of Humility
Work Type
Italian, Tuscan, Sienese
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2500, European Art, 13th–16th century, Art and Image in Europe
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Physical Descriptions
Tempera and gold on panel
175.5 x 88.7 cm (69 1/8 x 34 15/16 in.)
framed: 195 x 102.2 x 8.6 cm (76 3/4 x 40 1/4 x 3 3/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: in quatrefoils below angels: Tadeus de Senis pinxit hoc opus 1418
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Edward W. Forbes in memory of his mother, Edith Emerson Forbes
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Joseph Breck, "Notizie Intorno al Dipinti Italiani nel Fogg Museum", Rassegna d'Arte (October 1909), pp. 169-172, p. 169, repr.

Edward Waldo Forbes, Yankee Visionary, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1971), p. 28, repr. in b/w p. 29

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri, Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1972), p. 194

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990)

Gabriele Fattorini, "Gentile da Fabriano, Jacopo della Quercia and Siena: the 'Madonna dei banchetti'", Burlington Magazine (March 2010), CLII, pp. 152-161; repr. b/w p. 155

Sarah Kraaz, "Music for the Queen of Heaven in Early Fifteenth-Century Italian Paintings", Music in Art (academic journal, New York) (2014), vol. 39, no. 1-2, pp. 87-98

Exhibition History

Edward Waldo Forbes: Yankee Visionary, Fogg Art Museum, 01/16/1971 - 02/22/1971

32Q: 2500 Renaissance, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at