The Annunciation 1493 – Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510)

In this wonderfully realistic depiction of three dimensional space the Angel Gabriel hurries to tell the Virgin Mary that she is to bear God’s son Jesus. As rays of gold representing God’s grace radiate towards her, Mary’s modest poor and humble bow indicate that she has accepted this precious mission.

The angel in Botticelli’s Annunciation seems to float across a long arched corridor behind which can be seen a lake, trees,and a hillside. Many Renaissance artists became skilled in creating perspective which was a new discovery based on mathematics. The straight lines recede at carefully worked out intervals towards a fixed vanishing point in the background. The figures and objects in the foreground were also painted larger than those in the background to help make sense of perspective.

Botticelli was a major Florentine Renaissance artist who painted religious and mythological works. Although he was one of the most individual painters of the Italian Renaissance, he remained little known for centuries after his death. His work was rediscovered late in the 19th century by the Pre-Raphaelite artists

He was born in Florence and apprenticed to a goldsmith and later he was a pupil of the painter Fra Filippo Lippi. He spent all his life in Florence except for a visit to Rome in 1481-82. There he painted wall frescoes in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican.

In Florence, Botticelli was the protege of several members of the powerful Medici family. He painted portraits of the family and many religious pictures, including the famous The Adoration of the Magi.

Find this painting in the Italian Art Gallery on the first floor of the East Wing in Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

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