Skip to main content

Nicolas Poussin, The Annunciation

Key facts
Full title The Annunciation
Artist Nicolas Poussin
Artist dates 1594 - 1665
Date made 1657
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 104.3 × 103.1 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit Presented by Christopher Norris, 1944
Inventory number NG5472
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Annunciation
Nicolas Poussin

The Archangel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she will give birth to the Son of God. The dove of the Holy Ghost hovers above her in a bright circle of light. The Virgin, with her eyes closed and arms outstretched, accepts her role as mother of Christ. Poussin’s treatment of this subject is unusual, showing the Virgin sat cross-legged. Her cloak is usually blue, symbolising heaven, but here it is yellow, signifying hope and purity. Despite the room’s rather plain appearance, the clothing shimmers in the light shining from the left and the angel’s wings are decorated with three vibrant colours.

A wooden plaque fixed to the stone wall or parapet shows Poussin’s signature, the date 1657 and the name of Pope Alexander VII Chigi (1599–1667), who may have commissioned the painting.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo