The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Annunciation

Object Details


The Annunciation


Godfried Schalcken (Dutch, 1643 - 1706)




about 1660–1665


Oil on panel

Object Number:



26.3 × 20.5 cm (10 3/8 × 8 1/16 in.)

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Object Description

This finely painted work depicts the Annunciation: the Archangel Gabriel announcing to the Virgin Mary that she has been chosen to become the mother of Christ. In a rather personal interpretation of the theme, Godfried Schalcken represented Mary as a young Dutch woman in contemporary dress, holding a loose scroll rather than the traditional book. The swirling clouds at his knees, the pointing gesture, and the bright light around the angel's head betray Gabriel's spiritual status, for he has no wings or traditional symbols to identify him as God's messenger. Bright light illuminates Mary's thoughtful face. Schalcken delicately manipulated light and shadow to describe the folds in Gabriel's white gown and the shadows cast by his outstretched right arm and tilted head.

The small size, high degree of finish, and unconventional treatment of the subject matter indicate that the painting was intended for private devotion.

- 1805

Armand François Louis de Mestral, S.E. Herrn von Sankt Saphorin, 1738 - 1805 (Vienna, Austria), upon his death, probably held in trust by the estate.

1805 - 1806

Probably Estate of Armand François Louis de Mestral, S.E. Herrn von Sankt Saphorin, 1738 - 1805 (Vienna, Austria) [in Sankt Saphorin sale, Vienna, May 19, 1806, lot 396, probably either unsold or acquired by an heir of the De Mestral Family.]

1806 - 1985

Probably by inheritance in the De Mestral Family (Schloss Sankt Saphorin, Saint-Saphorin-sur-Morges, Switzerland.)


Probably heirs of the De Mestral Family (Schloss Sankt Saphorin, Saint-Saphorin-sur-Morges, Switzerland) [sold, Christie's, London, April 19, 1985, lot 98, to Edward Speelman, Ltd.]

1985 - 1986

Edward Speelman, Ltd. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986.


Sale, Vienna. Verzeichnis Gemälde-Sammlung von den berühmsten Meistern [...]. May 19, 1806, p. 54, lot 396.

Christie's, London. Important Old Masters, Part II. April 19, 1985, pp. 130-31, lot 98, ill.

Beherman, Thierry. Godfried Schalcken (Paris: Maeght, 1988), p. 79, no. 2, fig. 2.

Hecht, Peter. "Het veranderende beeld Nederlandse schilderkunst in Washington en Malibu." Kunstschrift 34, no. 5 (September-October 1990), pp. 26, 29, fig. 24.

Sutton, Peter C. "Recent Patterns of Public and Private Collecting of Dutch Art." In Great Dutch Paintings from America, exh. cat. Ben Broos et al., eds. (The Hague: Mauritshuis, with Waanders, 1990), p. 107.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 116, ill.