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The Annunciation
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The Annunciation


Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description This unusually well-preserved and exquisitely painted altarpiece represents the moment that the archangel Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary that she will give birth to the Son of God, while mary's gesture with her right hand signals her acceptance of her destiny. The dialogue between them is inscribed in their haloes. In the spandrel above, David, one of the ancestors of Christ, is painted in his role as the Old Testament prophet. The little garden behind Gabriel is a hortus conclusus (enclosed garden), symbolic of Mary's virginity. The three predella panels (the painted base of an altarpiece) below this scene depict the birth of the Virgin, her presentation in the Temple, and her death. The less refined figure of David and the predella scenes differ in style from the Annunciation and must have been painted by Stefano di Antonio, who collaborated with Bicci di Lorenzo. The frame is original.
Conservation
Date Description Narrative
12/31/1969Treatmentcoated; examined for condition; examined for digitization; inpainted; loss compensation; repaired; surface cleaned; varnish removed or reduced
3/12/2001Examinationexamined for condition
6/01/2002Treatmentchemical analysis; examined for condition; examined for technical study; infrared spectroscopy; loss compensation; x-ray
Exhibitions
  • The International Style: The Arts in Europe Around 1400. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1962.
  • Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001.
Provenance Stefano Bardini Collection, prior to 1890 [mode of acquisition unknown] [cited in Fiorenza Scalia, La citta degli Uffizi-Florence, 1982, p.46 with 1890 photo of Bardini Gallery showing this painting]; Lawrence W. Hodson, Wolverhampton, Compton Hall, England [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Sale, Christie's, London, June 25, 1906, no. 187 [as early Italian school]; C. Fairfax-Murray, London and Florence, 1907 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1913, by purchase [Bernard Berenson as agent]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transcription] In the halo of the archangel, counter-clockwise: AVE.MARIA.GRATIA.PLENA.DNS.TECV; [Transcription] In the halo of the Virgin, clockwise: ECCE ANCILLA.DOMINI.FIAT.M$M.; [Transcription] On the book lying near the door: FEMIA / CIRCI / DABIT / VIRV[M] / IEREM / IA PHA / 31; [Transcription] On the book held by the Virgin: ECCE VIR / GO CONC / IPIET.; [Transcription] Across the base of the main panel, on the frame dividing it from the predella: O BENE FECVNDA VIRGINITAS QVE NOVO I[N]AVDITOQ[U]E GENERE ET MATER DICI POSSIT ET VIRGO.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1913

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Period
ca. 1430 (Renaissance)
Medium
tempera and gold leaf on panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
37.448
Measurements
H with frame and canopy: 64 3/4 x W: 56 15/16 x D: 10 in. (164.4 x 144.7 x 25.4 cm); Main panel visible painted surface H: 44 1/2 x W: 49 x Approx. D: 1 3/4 in. (113 x 124.5 x 4.4 cm); Middle spandrel roundel approx. Diam: 5 1/2 in. (14 cm); Birth of the Virgin painted surface H, exclusive of gold borders: 5 11/16 x W: 13 9/16 in. (14.5 x 34.5 cm); Presentation of the Virgin painted surface H, exclusive of gold borders: 5 11/16 x W: 13 3/8 in. (14.5 x 34 cm); Dormition of the Virgin painted surface H, exclusive of gold borders: 5 11/16 x W: 13 9/16 in. (14.5 x 34.5 cm)
Geographies

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