The Annunciation
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Simon Bening
Flemish, Bruges, about 1525 - 1530
Tempera colors, gold paint, gold leaf, and ink on parchment
6 5/8 x 4 1/2 in.

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Seated on a low stool with her arms folded in a gesture of humility, the Virgin gazes piously at a prayer book opened on her lap. Into this quiet scene of domestic tranquility enters the angel Gabriel to tell Mary that she will bear the son of God. Floating in the air, suspended between heaven and earth, Gabriel points up toward the light of the Holy Spirit, which fills the room with divine illumination. Thus Simon Bening movingly and masterfully represented God taking on human flesh and the realm of the spirit opening up into the everyday world.