Sandro Botticelli

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Sandro Botticelli, Annumciation



24.2 X 36.8 cm

New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art


By the time Botticelli painted the Annunciation, he had become a very accomplished and recognized painter of altarpieces. He may have been a more recognized painter of altarpieces than of his mythology works because the altarpieces were displayed in public places where a large number of people could view them.

Annunciation was created for the funeral chapel in the church of Cestello in Florence. Bendedetto Guardi commissioned this work for the funeral chapel named after himself as part of the church renewal.

The painting is telling the story of the angel Gabriel finding Mary and telling her that she will be the Virgin Mother of the Christ Child. Gabriel has clearly interrupted Mary reading form the book on the stand on the edge of the picture. Other than the book and stand, there are very few details in the picture that can be used for further interpretation. However, on the frame of the picture are inscriptions that can further enlighten the viewer. There are passages from the Bible where Gabriel is telling Mary about her situation and these tell the story that Botticelli wanted to portray.

There is a planned lack of architectural detail in Boticelli’s painting. This corresponds to the simplicity of the environment for the Cestello Church where the painting is to be displayed. A noteworthy feature in the Annunciation is the way that Botticelli used the space between Gabriel and Mary. The area between them on the floor and the area between their fingers that does not allow them to touch, is significant. That space is showing Gabriel and Mary not touching just as Mary conceived the Christ Child without any physical touch.




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