Henry Ossawa Tanner’s 1898 painting ‘The Annunciation’ is a stunning example of the artist’s use of realism. The oil painting measures 144.8 x 181cm and depicts the biblical scene where Angel Gabriel tells Mary she will become the mother of Jesus Christ, who according to Christian faith is the Son of God. This artwork currently resides at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennsylvania, USA, and is considered a masterful example of how to use light in art.
Tanner’s ‘The Annunciation’ is not only a beautiful work of art, it is also a masterpiece that showcases Tanner’s full range of talents as an artist. He has accomplished a great deal with this painting with his thoughtful composition, use of light and colour, and his mastery of realism as an art style. His messages are meaningful, nuanced and delicately demonstrated in this powerful piece.
To examine further examples by Tanner, one can find his 1942 artwork titled ‘The Absent Lady’. Here, he adopted a more abstract approach than in the realistic ‘Annunciation’, leaving much up to interpretation for those examining the painting. Through The Absent Lady, we gain insight into Tanner’s creative abilities and range across artwork styles that help round out our understanding of his impressive contributions to American art.