The Annunciation (1486) by Carlo Crivelli

The Annunciation - Carlo Crivelli - 1486

All Artwork Images

Artwork Information

TitleThe Annunciation
ArtistCarlo Crivelli
MediumOil on Panel,tempera
Dimensions146.7 x 207 cm
Art MovementEarly Renaissance
Current LocationNational Gallery, London

About The Annunciation

“The Annunciation” is an oil on panel painting completed by Carlo Crivelli in 1486. This Early Renaissance artwork measures 146.7 by 207 centimeters, falling within the genre of religious painting. It is part of the collection at the National Gallery in London. The artwork captures the biblically significant moment when the Angel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she will bear the Son of God.

The artwork presents a richly detailed scene combining architectural elements with intense symbolism. In the foreground, the Archangel Gabriel, clothed in elaborate robes with wings unfurled, genuflects before the Virgin Mary, who is depicted inside a building, characterized by the solemnity and humility fitting the epochal event. Mary, found in a posture of devotion or prayer, holds a book, which is often interpreted as the Bible or a book of hours—common medieval symbols of piety.

The setting of the painting is a detailed streetscape, with a deep perspective leading the viewer’s eye through a series of buildings and arches. In the sky above, a dove, representing the Holy Spirit, descends towards Mary, linked by a beam of golden light that pierces the otherwise serene blues of the heavens.

Crivelli’s work features a combination of ornate and classical architecture, framing the holy figures and providing a richly textured backdrop that exemplifies the detailed workmanship of the period. Another remarkable aspect of the artwork is the use of trompe-l’œil effects and meticulously painted objects that possess symbolic meanings, such as the cucumber and apple on the bottom ledge, which are traditional symbols relating to the themes of redemption and the fall of man, respectively.

Linear perspective is utilized to create an illusion of depth, and the fine rendering of textures and materials—such as the reflections on the polished floors, the transparency of the glass window, and the textures of the fabrics and the building materials—demonstrate the artistic skills and techniques prevalent during the Early Renaissance. The inclusion of a peacock—a symbol of immortality—and the meticulous detail in the architectural elements are reflective of Crivelli’s particular style and his emphasis on symbolism.

Other Artwork from Carlo Crivelli

More Early Renaissance Artwork

Scroll to Top