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Mary Alexandra Bell Eastlake

The Annunciation

Artist

Mary Alexandra Bell Eastlake
Douglas, Ontario, 1864 – Ottawa 1951

Title

The Annunciation

Date

1895

Materials

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

63.7 x 53.7 cm

Credits

Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 2003.61

Collection

Quebec and Canadian Art

In 1896, in the British magazine The Studio, Norman Garstin wrote about an exhibition in Saint Yves, Cornwall, where the artist lived: “Miss Bell has a picture of the Annunciation painted with great strength and in a flat and archaic manner.” This Annunciation to Mary by moonlight, against a background of lilies, symbol of virginal purity, emphasizes the inwardness of the figure, whose face only is illuminated. Dressed as a peasant, the Virgin is haloed by an outline of light, echoing the angel’s flaming hair. The canvas emanates a Symbolist spirit and displays a brush technique similar to the Nabis. In Canadian art, this painting is outstanding for its precocious modernity.

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