The Annunciation

Object Details

Title:

The Annunciation

Artist/Maker:

Tommaso del Mazza (Master of St. Verdiana) (Italian, active 1377 - 1392)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

about 1390 - 1395

Medium:

Tempera and gold leaf on panel

Dimensions:

128.3 x 92.1 cm (50 1/2 x 36 1/4 in.)

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The words Ave gratia plena Dominus tecum (Greetings most favored one! The Lord is with you) from Luke 1:8 flow from the archangel Gabriel's mouth as he announces the conception of Christ to the Virgin Mary. Much as in modern comic books, Tommaso del Mazza visualized Gabriel's speech for the viewer to follow along. In Mary's lap the bible is opened to the prophecy of Isaiah: "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son..." (Isaiah 7:14). Gently touching her chest, Mary leans forward to acknowledge her destiny. Above, God the Father floats in a mandorla of angels as the dove of the Holy Spirit descends to Mary at the moment of Incarnation.

The Annunciation takes place in a spatially ambiguous structure in which Mary appears too large. Tooled haloes, gold, and vivid colors heighten the intensity of the moment and add to the overall impression of sumptuousness.

This panel was created by Tommaso del Mazza, until recently known only as the Master of Saint Verdiana, who worked in the late Gothic style during the Renaissance in Florence.

Provenance
-

Possibly Church of San Francesco, Pienza, commissioned by the Piccolomini Family for the family chapel

by 1929 - early 1940s

Robert Langton Douglas, 1864 - 1951 (London, England)

- 1951

Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's, London, January 31, 1951, lot 18, for £ 400,- to Soames.]

1951 -

Soames

by 1954 - 1959

Julius H. Weitzner, 1896 - 1986 (London, England; New York, New York), sold to Heinz Kisters, 1959.

1959 - 1971

Heinz Kisters (Kreuzlingen, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1971.

Exhibitions
The Twilight of a Tradition (September 16 to December 7, 2008) (Cat. 7b)
  • Museum & Gallery at Bob Jones University (Greenville), September 16 to December 7, 2008
The Art of Sleuthing (October 22, 2015 to May 28, 2017)
  • Museum & Gallery at Bob Jones University (Greenville), October 22, 2015 to May 27, 2017
Bibliography

Sotheby & Co., London. Catalogue of Old Master and Modern Paintings [...]. January 31, 1951 p. 5, lot 18.

Bellosi, Luciano. "Da Spinello Aretino a Lorenzo Monaco." Paragone 16, no. 187 (September 1965) p. 34.

Boskovits, Miklós. "Der Meister der Santa Verdiana." Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz 13 (1967) pp. 56, 58-59, fig. 25.

Klesse, Brigitte. Seidenstoffe in der italienischen Malerei des 14. Jahrhunderts (Bern: Stämpfli & Cie, 1967) p. 344, no. e, under no. 283.

Bologna, Ferdinando. Novità su Giotto: Giotto al tempo della cappella Peruzzi (Florence: Giulio Einaudi editore, 1969) p. 15-16, fig. 23.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Catalogue of the Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1972) p. 8, no. 9, ill.

Boskovits, Miklòs. Pittura fiorentina alla vigilia del Rinascimento 1370-1400 (Florence: Edam, 1975) p. 385, fig. 354.

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975) pp. 68, 76, ill.

Fremantle, Richard. Florentine Gothic Painters: From Giotto to Masaccio: A Guide to Painting in and near Florence 1300 to 1450 (London: Martin Secker and Warburg, 1975) p. 297, fig. 602.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976) p. 61.

Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum, rev. ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976) p. 61.

Fredericksen, Burton B., Jírí Frel, and Gillian Wilson. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 4th ed. Sandra Morgan, ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978) p. 76.

Sutton, Denys. "Robert Langton Douglas and the Metropolitan Museum." Apollo 110 (June 1979) pp. 36, 38, 233n6, fig. 3.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 5th ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980) p. 63, ill.

Offner, Richard. A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: A Legacy of Attributions: The Fourteenth Century: Supplement. Hayden B. J. Maginnis, ed. (Glückstadt: J. J. Augustin, 1981) p. 45.

Eisenberg, Marvin. Lorenzo Monaco (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989) pp. 71n164, 89.

Deimling, Barbara. "Il Maestro di Santa Verdiana: un polittico disperso e il problema dell'identificazione." Arte Cristiana 79 (1991) p. 406.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 83, ill.

Offner, Richard, et al. A Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting: Tradition and Innovation in Florentine Trecento Painting: Giovanni Bonsi-Tommaso del Mazza. Sec. 3, vol. 8. Miklós Boskovits, ed. (Florence: Giunti, 2000) pp. 123-25, 309-14, 316n11, fig. 7, pl. LVII-LVII.1.

Deimling, Barbara. "Tommaso del Mazza: The Portrait of a Painter in Late Trecento Florence." In Discovering a Pre-Renaissance Master: Tommaso del Mazza, exh. cat. (Greenville: Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery, 2009) pp. 9, 11, 15.

Nolan, John M. "Considerations on the Halo and Garment Patterns in the Work of Tommaso del Mazza." In Discovering a Pre-Renaissance Master: Tommaso del Mazza, exh. cat. (Greenville: Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery, 2009) pp. 17-18, 21-27, figs. 14, 23, 26-28.

Szafran, Yvonne. "The Technical Examination of Three Panels by Tommaso del Mazza: Questions, Answers, and Conundrums." In Discovering a Pre-Renaissance Master: Tommaso del Mazza, exh. cat. (Greenville: Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery, 2009) pp. 51-69, figs. 46, 49-52, 55, 59-62, 64-67.

Deimling, Barbara, et al. Discovering a Pre-Renaissance Master: Tommaso del Mazza, exh. cat. (Greenville: Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery, 2009) pp. 82-83, no. 7b, pl. 7b.