The Madonna of Humility

Object Details


The Madonna of Humility


After Robert Campin (Netherlandish, about 1375 - 1444)




about 1450 - 1470


Oil on panel


48.6 x 37.8 cm (19 1/8 x 14 7/8 in.)

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The Madonna of Humility, an extremely popular subject in Flanders, sits on the ground on a cushion, presenting the haloed Christ Child in her arms. A crescent visible below her skirts at the left symbolizes the moon on which the Virgin stands in representations of the Immaculate Conception. The open and closed books symbolize the Old and New Testaments, and the lilies to the right symbolize Mary's purity. The apple in Christ's hands and mouth alludes to original sin and his future sacrifice.

In this painting, the artist preserves the rich colors and detailed focus of his predecessors, the illuminated manuscript painters, while attempting to create a coherent spatial world. The river winds into the background, yet the townscape in the distance is rendered with as much clarity as the trim on the Virgin's drapery. Minutely observed details demonstrate the early Netherlandish interest in creating a convincing illusion of three-dimensional reality on a flat panel.

by 1935 - still in 1953

Gaston Müller (Brussels, Belgium)

by 1964 - still in 1967

Baron Robert de Gendébien (Brussels, Belgium)

- at least 1975

Établissement pour la diffusion et la connaissance des oeuvres d'art (Liechtenstein)

- 1977

Artemis Fine Arts, Inc. (New York)

and Eugene Thaw (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1977.

Cinq siècles d'art (May 24 to October 13, 1935) (Cat. 13; as follower of Rogier van der Weyden)
  • Exposition Universelle et Internationale (Brussels), May 24 to October 13, 1935
The Worcester-Philadelphia Exhibition of Flemish Painting (March 25 to April 26, 1939) (Cat. 5; as Robert Campin)
  • Worcester Art Museum, (Worcester), March 25 to April 26, 1939
Fleurs et jardins dans l'art flamand (April 10 to June 26, 1960) (Cat. 43; as Robert Campin)
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts (Ghent), April 10 to June 26, 1960
Hommage à Roger de le Pasture-van der Weyden, 1646 - 1964 (November 15 to December 15, 1964) (Cat. 11; as the Master of Flémalle)
  • Cathédrale de Tournai, November 15 to December 15, 1964

Cinq siècles d'art. Vol. 1, Peintures, exh. cat. (Brussels: Exposition universelle et internationale de Bruxelles, with Nouvelle société d'éditions, 1935) p. 10, no. 13.

Lavalleye, Jacques. "Catalogue raisonné de la peinture." Bulletin de la société royale d'archéologie de Bruxelles, no. 2 (July 1937) pp. 72, 77, no. 1, fig. 23.

Tolnay, Charles de. Le Maître de Flémalle et les frères van Eyck (Brussels: Éditions de la connaissance, 1939) pp. 16, 59, no. 17, fig. 24.

The Worcester-Philadelphia Exhibition of Flemish Painting, exh. cat. (Worcester, MA: Worcester Art Museum, 1939) pp. 19-20, no. 5, ill.

Panofsky, Erwin. Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origins and Character. 2 vols. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1953) vol. 1, pp. 128, 143, 175, 426n1; vol. 2, pl. 105, fig. 226.

Gottlieb, Carla. "The Brussels Version of the Mérode Annunciation." The Art Bulletin 39, no. 1 (March 1957) p. 59n16.

Fleurs et jardins dans l'art flamand, exh. cat. (Ghent: Musée des beaux-arts, 1960) pp. 15, 114, no. 43, fig. 4.

Meiss, Millard. "'Highlands' in the Lowlands: Jan van Eyck, the Master of Flémalle and the Franco-Italian Tradition. Gazette des beaux-arts. 6th per. 57 (May-June 1961) pp. 277, 310n9.

Hommage à Roger de le Pasture-van der Weyden 1464-1964, exh. cat. (Tournai, Belgium: Cathédrale de Tournai, 1964) unpaginated, no. 11, ill.

Friedländer, Max J. Early Netherlandish Painting. Vol. 2, Rogier van der Weyden and the Master of Flémalle. Heinz Norden, trans. (Leyden: Sijthoff, 1967) pp. 92, 107, Add. 151, pl. 142.

Davies, Martin. Rogier van der Weyden: An Essay, with a Critical Catalogue of Paintings Assigned to Him and to Robert Campin (London: Phaidon, 1972) p. 247.

Kerber, Ottmar. "Die Hubertus-Tafeln von Rogier van der Weyden." Pantheon 30, no. 4 (July-August 1972) p. 299.

Fredericksen, Burton B., Jírí Frel, and Gillian Wilson. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 4th ed. Sandra Morgan, ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978) pp. 72, 74.

Fletcher, John. "The Study of Early Paintings on Flemish Panels." Jaarboek van het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen (1984) pp. 13, 15 (as unknown artist).

Falkenburg, Reindert. "Smaak in beeldspraak een liefdesmetafoor in schilderijen van Maria met het kind uit de Zuidelijke Nederlanden (1450-1550)." Spiegel Historiael 26, no. 10 (October 1991) p. 421, fig. 4.

Falkenburg, Reindert L. The Fruit of Devotion: Mysticism and the Imagery of Love in Flemish Paintings of the Virgin and Child, 1450-1550. Sammy Herman, trans. (Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing, 1994) p. 3, fig. 10.

Châtelet, Albert. Robert Campin le maître de Flémalle: La fascination du quotidien (Antwerp: Fonds Mercator, 1996) p. 328, no. AR2, ill.

Purtle, Carol J. "The Iconography of Campin's Madonnas in Interiors: A Search for Common Ground." In Robert Campin: New Directions in Scholarship. Susan Foister and Susie Nash, eds. (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 1996) p. 181n6.

Fisher, Celia. "Floral Motifs and the Problem of a Campin Workshop." In Robert Campin: New Directions in Scholarship. Susan Foister and Susie Nash, eds. (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 1996) p. 120.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 20, ill.

Potte, Marie-Blanche. "Comme je m'assieds se conçoit le jardin, prémices à une histoire typologique des corps en hortésie." Polia: Revue de l'art des jardins, no. 8 (Autumn 2007) pp. 44-45, fig. 2.

Raguin, Virginia Chieffo. Stained Glass: Radiant Art (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2013) pp. 57, 59, ill.

Woollett, Anne T. "Foreword: Early Netherlandish Painting in the Getty Collection." In Los Angeles Museums. Diane Wolfthal, and Cathy Metzger. Vol. 22, Corpus of Early Netherlandish Painting (Brussels: Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, 2014) p. 8.

Wolfthal, Diane, and Cathy Metzger. Los Angeles Museums. Vol. 22, Corpus of Early Netherlandish Painting (Brussels: Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, 2014) pp. 222-38.