|Artist||Leonardo da Vinci|
|Medium||Oil and tempera on panel|
|Dimensions||98 cm × 217 cm (39 in × 85 in)|
|Location||Uffizi, Florence, Italy|
The subject matter is drawn from Luke 1.26-39 and depicts the angel Gabriel, sent by God to announce to a virgin, Mary, that she would miraculously conceive and give birth to a son, to be named Jesus, and to be called "the Son of God" whose reign would never end. The subject was very popular for artworks and had been depicted many times in the art of Florence, including several examples by the Early Renaissance painter Fra Angelico. The details of its commission and its early history remain obscure.
In 1867, following Gustav Waagen methods, Baron Liphart identified this Annunciation, newly arrived in the Uffizi Gallery from a convent near Florence, as by the young Leonardo, still working in the studio of his master Verrocchio. The painting has since been attributed to different artists, including Leonardo and Verrocchio's contemporary Domenico Ghirlandaio. It was more recently determined to be a collaboration between Leonardo and his master Verrocchio, with whom Leonardo collaborated on the Baptism of Jesus.
The angel holds a Madonna lily, a symbol of Mary's virginity and of the city of Florence. It is supposed that Leonardo originally copied the wings from those of a bird in flight, but they have since been lengthened by a later artist.
When the Annunciation came to the Uffizi in 1867, from the Olivetan monastery of San Bartolomeo, near Florence, it was ascribed to Domenico Ghirlandaio, who was, like Leonardo, an apprentice in the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio. In 1869, Karl Eduard von Liphart, the central figure of the German expatriate art colony in Florence, recognized it as a youthful work by da Vinci, one of the first attributions of a surviving work to the youthful Leonardo. Since then a preparatory drawing for the angel's sleeve has been recognized and attributed to Leonardo.
Verrocchio used lead-based paint and heavy brush strokes. He left a note for Leonardo to finish the background and the angel. Leonardo used light brush strokes and no lead. When the Annunciation was x-rayed, Verrocchio's work was evident while Leonardo's angel was invisible.
The marble table in front of the Virgin probably quotes the tomb of Piero and Giovanni de' Medici in the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence, which Verrocchio had sculpted during this same period. Some immature hesitancies are usually noted, especially the Virgin's ambiguous spatial relation to the desk and the marble on which it rests.
Notes and references
- "Leonardo da Vinci: The Annunciation" (overview), ArtChive.com, 2009, webpage: AC-Annunc.
- Uffizi, Leonardo da Vinci, Annunciation Archived 2014-08-08 at the Wayback Machine.
- Brown, David Alan (1998). Leonardo da Vinci : origins of a genius. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. p. 169. ISBN 0300072465.
- Though there was hesitation on the part of some art historians who remarked its Verrocchio-like qualities and by Giovanni Morelli, who cited the angel's hands in assigning it to Ridolfo, son of Ghirlandaio, the attribution was accepted: David Alan Brown, Leonardo da Vinci: origins of a genius, 1998:169, 170.
- "NETZEITUNG KULTURNEWS: Da-Vinci-Gemälde lässt sich nicht anketten" (in German). Netzeitung.de. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
- CBC Arts (2007-03-12). "Arts - Da Vinci work crated for loan despite Italian protests". Cbc.ca. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci.|
- Leonardo da Vinci: anatomical drawings from the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, exhibition catalog fully online as PDF from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which contains material on Annunciation (see index)