The Annunciation

Object Details


The Annunciation


Paolo Veneziano (Italian (Venetian), active 1333 - 1358)




Italy (Place created)


about 1348 - 1350


Tempera and gold leaf on panel


16.7 x 20.3 cm (6 9/16 x 8 in.)

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These panels once formed the pinnacles of the wings of a now-dismembered portable altarpiece. A double-tiered central panel originally depicted the Madonna and Child below a Crucifixion. The triple-tiered side panels featured pairs of standing saints, with the Getty Museum's Annunciation panels forming the apex.

Kneeling, the Archangel Gabriel greets the Virgin at the moment of Christ's Incarnation. In the form of a dove, the Holy Spirit descends, flying close to the Virgin's face. Paolo Veneziano skillfully placed his figures within the difficult confines of the small trapezoidal space. The depiction of Mary's throne presented a challenge to the artist, but he set it at an angle thus, giving a sense of depth. He used the space above Gabriel by sweeping the angel's wings upwards so that the feathery ends touch the point where the frame meets the panel. The Virgin's facial features, her hieratic pose, and the decorative patterning of her dress and the cloth of honor draping her throne all illustrate Byzantine conventions of the past. But the figure of Gabriel shows a more modern influence: The innovations of Giotto and other Tuscan artists are seen in the way Veneziano has given the figure a weightiness and bulk achieved through sculptural modeling.

- 1906

Carandini Collection (Rome, Italy)

1906 - 1928

Charles Alexander Loeser, 1864 - 1928 (Florence, Italy), by inheritance to his wife, Olga Kaufmann Loeser, 1928.

1928 -

Olga Kaufmann Loeser, by inheritance to her daughter, Mrs. Matilda Sophia Loeser Calnan.

- possibly 1959 or 1960

Mrs. Matilda Sophia Loeser Calnan (Milan, Italy; Florence, Italy), possibly sold to Riccardo Bruscoli.

possibly 1959 or 1960 -

Possibly Riccardo Bruscoli (Florence, Italy)

1975 -

Private Collection (Switzerland)

1977 - 1987

Grassi Studio LLC (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1987.


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Laclotte, Michel, and Esther Moench. Peinture italienne: Musée du Petit Palais, Avignon (Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 2005) pp. 172, 246, under no. 224, figs. A, C.