The Annunciation

Stefano d'Antonio di Vannica. 1430 (Renaissance)

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum

This unusually well-preserved and exquisitely painted altarpiece shows the moment when the archangel Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary that she will give birth to the Son of God. The dialogue between them is inscribed in their haloes. In the spandrel above, David, one of the ancestors of Christ, is painted in his role as the Old Testament prophet. The little garden behind Gabriel is a hortus conclusus (enclosed garden), symbolic of Mary's virginity. The three predella panels (the painted base of an altarpiece) below this scene depict the birth of the Virgin, her presentation in the Temple, and her death. The less refined figure of David and the predella scenes differ in style from the Annunciation and must have been painted by Stefano di Antonio, who collaborated with Bicci di Lorenzo. For more information on this altarpiece, please see Zeri catalogue number 19, pp. 32-35.

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  • Title: The Annunciation
  • Date Created: ca. 1430 (Renaissance)
  • Physical Dimensions: w144.7 x h164.4 x d25.4 cm
  • Type: altarpieces; paintings
  • Rights: Acquired by Henry Walters, 1913, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: tempera and gold leaf on panel
  • Provenance: Stefano Bardini Collection, prior to 1890 [mode of acquisition unknown] [cited in Fiorenza Scalia, La citta degli Uffizi-Florence, 1982, p.46 with 1890 photo of Bardini Gallery showing this painting]; Lawrence W. Hodson, Wolverhampton, Compton Hall, England [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Sale, Christie's, London, June 25, 1906, no. 187 [as early Italian school]; C. Fairfax-Murray, London and Florence, 1907 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1913, by purchase [Bernard Berenson as agent]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
  • Place of Origin: Florence, Italy
  • Inscriptions: [Transcription] In the halo of the archangel, counter-clockwise: AVE.MARIA.GRATIA.PLENA.DNS.TECV; [Transcription] In the halo of the Virgin, clockwise: ECCE ANCILLA.DOMINI.FIAT.M$M.; [Transcription] On the book lying near the door: FEMIA / CIRCI / DABIT / VIRV[M] / IEREM / IA PHA / 31; [Transcription] On the book held by the Virgin: ECCE VIR / GO CONC / IPIET.; [Transcription] Across the base of the main panel, on the frame dividing it from the predella: O BENE FECVNDA VIRGINITAS QVE NOVO I[N]AVDITOQ[U]E GENERE ET MATER DICI POSSIT ET VIRGO.
  • ExhibitionHistory: The International Style: The Arts in Europe Around 1400. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1962; Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001
  • Artist: Stefano d'Antonio di Vanni