The Annunciation: The Virgin Mary

The Virgin Mary, interrupted from her reading, raises one hand in surprise at the Angel Gabriel's announcement that she will bear the son of God (Luke 1: 26-8). Her lectern and chair reflect contemporary domestic furnishings.

This work and its companion panel of 'The Angel Gabriel' are closely related to a set of four other panels by the artist (Turin, Pinacoteca). All of these works appear to be earlier in style than Gaudenzio's Arona altarpiece which is dated to 1511.

The altarpiece may have been arranged as follows; main tier, Madonna and Child with Saint Anne and Angels (Turin) flanked by the Meeting of Joachim and Anne and the Expulsion of Joachim (both Turin); upper tier, the Almighty (Turin) centrally placed above the Madonna and Child, flanked by the Angel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary.

The low vanishing point certainly suggests that this panel was intended to be placed very high.

Key facts

Artist dates
active 1508; died 1546
Full title
The Annunciation: The Virgin Mary
Date made
before 1511
Medium and support
Oil and tempera on poplar
58.4 x 58.4 cm
Acquisition credit
Layard Bequest, 1916
Inventory number
Location in Gallery

Other paintings in the group: Panels from an Altarpiece: The Annunciation