Annunciation (c.1598; Spain) by El Greco

Annunciation - El Greco - c.1598; Spain

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Artwork Information

ArtistEl Greco
Datec.1598; Spain
Dimensions114 x 67 cm
Art MovementMannerism (Late Renaissance)
Current LocationThyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, Spain

About Annunciation

The painting “Annunciation” by El Greco, created around 1598 in Spain, is an oil on canvas that belongs to the Mannerism art movement, specifically in its late Renaissance phase. Its dimensions are 114 x 67 cm. As a religious painting, it depicts a moment of deep spiritual significance and is housed at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, Spain.

The artwork itself is a dynamic and expressive portrayal of the Annunciation, the biblical event where the angel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she will conceive and become the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The composition shows an ethereal setting with the angel Gabriel on the right, dressed in green and descending from the heavens with grand, open wings indicative of his divine nature. He gestures towards a serene and contemplative Mary, who is positioned on the left side of the canvas. Mary is dressed in rich fabrics, with a blue cloak and a red garment, sitting near a lectern with an open book, possibly signifying her devotion and contemplation of the scriptures.

Above, a group of angels playing musical instruments hovers in a celestial realm, suggesting a connection between heaven and earth through the divine message being delivered. The angels are portrayed with a sense of movement and fluidity, characteristic of El Greco’s unique style that often stretched and distorted figures to convey spiritual intensity. The use of dramatic lighting accentuates the supernatural aspects of the scene, with a divine light emanating from the Holy Spirit, portrayed as a dove, and cascading down towards Mary.

Dramatic contrasts of light and shadow, elongated figures, and vibrant colors are hallmarks of El Greco’s style and contribute to the overall emotional impact of the painting. El Greco’s capacity to blend the spiritual with the personal adds a profound sense of human emotion to the divine event depicted in the Annunciation.

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