The Annunciation, c. 1480


Bequest of Herschel V. Jonesexpand_more  P.68.252

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The angel Gabriel tells Mary, a virgin, that she will bear the son of God, Jesus. Martin Schongauer fills the tender scene with delicacy and grace. As had already become customary by his time, he shows Mary as having been interrupted while at prayer, but his unusually tight composition, with Gabriel approaching Mary from behind, emphasizes the element of surprise. In another innovation, he gave Gabriel a laurel crown, which had associations with both love and power. In the sky, we catch a glimpse of God, who has sent the Holy Spirit, symbolized as a dove, to impregnate Mary.

The Annunciation
Artist Life
c. 1440/53–1491
Accession Number
(Frederick Keppel & Co., New York, until 1916; sold, May 9, for $2,200, to Jones); Herschel V. Jones, Minneapolis (May 9, 1916 - d. May 24, 1928; bequeathed to MIA.
Catalogue Raisonne
Lehrs 1; B.3, L.V.39.1
Curator Approved

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