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Zanobi Strozzi, The Annunciation

Key facts
Full title The Annunciation
Artist Zanobi Strozzi
Artist dates 1412 - 1468
Date made about 1440-5
Medium and support Egg tempera on wood
Dimensions 104.5 × 142 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1894
Inventory number NG1406
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Annunciation
Zanobi Strozzi

The Archangel Gabriel has just landed – his gilded peacock-like wings still raised – interrupting the Virgin Mary from her reading. She stares at her visitor in terror and gathers her cloak around her in fear. This is the Annunciation, the moment Gabriel told the Virgin that she would conceive the Son of God. The Holy Ghost who would impregnate her is shown here as a dove, with a gilded halo, flying in above Gabriel’s head.

Strozzi has included Gabriel’s greeting in gold in the border of his pink dress, ‘Ave Maria’ (‘Hail Mary!’). This picture is a variant of paintings of the Annunciation by Strozzi’s teacher, the Florentine painter and friar, Fra Angelico. This panel was cut in half some time before it entered the National Gallery’s collection. The two halves are now reunited but the original picture probably also included a scene showing the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, as can be seen in some of Fra Angelico’s versions.

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