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Gaudenzio Ferrari, Panels from an Altarpiece: The Annunciation

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Panels from an Altarpiece: The Annunciation


These are two panels from an altarpiece painted by Gaudenzio Ferrari between 1508—9 for the church of Sant’ Anna in Vercelli. It was commissioned by the local confraternity dedicated to Saint Anne for the altar of their oratory.

The panels of the altarpiece were arranged in two horizontal rows of three and contained in a large and elaborate gilded frame. The National Gallery’s pictures depicting the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary were originally on the upper row, either side of a panel of God the Father blessing from the heavens. The lower paintings, now in Turin, contained scenes from the story of the Virgin’s parents, Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, who were unable to have a child until they miraculously conceived the Virgin in their old age. They show Joachim chased from the Temple; the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and two members of the Confraternity of Saint Anne; and Joachim and Anne meeting at the Golden Gate.