This canvas and its pair, representing the Adoration of the Magi, attributed to Bento Coelho da Silveira, was part of an altar-piece set, which is partially lost, dedicated to theme of Nativity. In the “Annunciation”, Bento Coelho divides the composition in two different areas, one a darkened interior, of strong tenebrist colours, in which the Archangel and the Virgin are represented, and an upper area, strongly lit, where one sees the Glory of Heavens. The Virgin, on the right hand side of the composition, kneeling on a Persian rug, with her hands crossed over her chest, looks to the Heaven, in a posture of humility and obedience to the divine will. At the feet of the Virgin, there is the Bible opened at the prophet of Isaiah, and a basket, an element which could constitute a vestige of the late medieval tradition which represented this scene in a domestic environment, echoing an old Byzantine tradition according to which the Virgin was weaving for the curtain of the Temple when the Archangel Gabriel visited her. The representation of the Archangel Gabriel – on the left of the composition, on his knees, reclining in a posture of veneration and respect before the Virgin of the Incarnation - reveals the importance which the devotion of the Eucharist assumed in the era of the Counter-Reformation. At the feet of the archangel, one can see a lily, the symbol of purity. On the right hand side, behind Mary, Bento Coelho put a column, with her symbol.


  • Title: Annunciation
  • Creator Lifespan: 1617 - 1708
  • Creator Nationality: Portuguese
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Lisbon
  • Creator Birth Place: Lisbon
  • Date: ca.1656
  • Physical Dimensions: w98 x h113 cm
  • Provenance: Museu de São Roque/Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Museu de São Roque/Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa
  • External Link: Museu de São Roque/Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Painter: Bento Coelho da Silveira
  • Manufactured: Lisbon, Portugal

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