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Annunciation, Painting by Leonardo da Vinci - Meaning and Analysis

08 April 2022
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Annunciation - Leonardo Da Vinci. Around 1472. Wood, oil, tempera. 98 x 217 cm


The “Annunciation" was presumably created by Leonardo da Vinci 1472-1475 during the period of his work with his teacher Verrocchio and is in fact an illustration of the biblical plot of the moment when the Archangel Gabriel annunciated the coming birth of Christ to the Virgin Mary.

In the foreground of the picture the viewer can observe a kneeling angel blessing Mary with his right hand. In the meantime, his raised hand together with the face make a compositional frame highlighting a white lily, which is a symbol of purity, the stem of which the angel is holding with the fingers of his left hand.

The wide apparel an angel is spread out on the lush grass spangled with flowers, and in the background one can see a detailed landscape with mountains, trees, a river stretching into the distance and vessels on it.

Mary is sitting outside her house, wearing the traditional blue clothes. The Bible is in front of her, resting on a stand decorated with a bas-relief, to be read by the future mother of Christ before the apparition of Gabriel to her.

There are halos above the heads of both characters. The colors of the painting are bright and saturated, creating a festive atmosphere of a great event for worshipers.

At the same time, the Virgin Mary, her skin, are painted in the nearly transparent pastel tones, her golden hair is flowing over her shoulders, and she is looking humbly and meekly. The flexion of her fingers depicts her grace and subtlety. In her image, the godliness and beauty are concentrated, and her face is as if lit with the light coming from within.

There were disputes in the past over the authorship of the picture, but they all got dispelled, when the hand sketch of the angel, was found and published in 1907.

There are also symbols and references to Italy of those times contained in the picture. The lily was a symbol of Florence, and the stand for the Bible is decorated with the ornament similar to the one used for the Medici tombstone, on which the Leonardo’s teacher worked.
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