The Annunciation

Object Details

Title:

The Annunciation

Artist/Maker(s):

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
Bibliography

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.

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

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