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Probably by Giannicola di Paolo, The Annunciation

Key facts
Full title The Annunciation
Artist Probably by Giannicola di Paolo
Artist dates active 1484; died 1544
Date made late 15th century
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 61 × 105.4 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1881
Inventory number NG1104
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Annunciation
Probably by Giannicola di Paolo

The scene shows the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary that she would conceive a son, Jesus Christ, through the Holy Ghost. Gabriel holds a lily, a traditional symbol of the Virgin’s purity, and points upwards to the golden rays which are directed towards Mary. These rays originally emanated from a dove, a symbol of the Holy Ghost, which is no longer visible as the picture was cut down before it entered the National Gallery’s collection.

Giannicola’s early paintings, like this one, show the impact of the style of his fellow Umbrian painter, Perugino: here, Giannicola has copied Perugino’s designs for the figures of the Virgin and Gabriel. Gabriel is identical to Perugino’s Annunciation dated 1489 (Santa Maria Nuova, Fano); the figure of the Virgin is a direct copy of Perugino’s Virgin in the Albani Torlonia Altarpiece dated 1491 (Museo di Villa Albani, Rome).

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