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Currently shown

Virgin of the Annunciation

Location

SOUTHERN GERMANY

Title

Virgin of the Annunciation

Date

About 1500

Materials

Polychromed wood

Dimensions

71.1 x 35.6 x 14 cm

Credits

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. L. V. Randall, inv. 1941.Df.2

Collection

Western Art

This Virgin of the Annunciation belongs to those German works that are striking as much for the opulence and quality of their execution as their popularity in the area ranging from the North Sea to Upper Hungary. That the Virgin is sitting straight up in her seat, her posture extending the vertical lines of the latter, is an indication that this statue was originally positioned along the upper part of an altarpiece. Between her hands (the left now lost) the Virgin holds a book, consistent with the iconography widespread throughout fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Western Europe, according to which the Annunciation took place in the Virgin’s chamber whilst she was contemplating the words of the prophets. This pretext for the depiction of more or less detailed interior scenes lends an intimate character to such sculptures, even when, as in the case of the work in the Museum’s collection, they are stripped of their original context, and even some of their traditional figures, since the Archangel Gabriel is no longer there.

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