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Bernat Martorell

The Annunciation


Bernat Martorell
Active in Barcelona, 1427-1452


The Annunciation




Oil and tempera on wood


76.2 x 52.7 cm


F. Cleveland Morgan Bequest, inv. 1962.1363


Western Art

This panel depicts the Annunciation, the moment when the Archangel Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary that God has chosen her to bear Jesus the Messiah. Commissioned in 1427, this painting is from a large altarpiece, or retablo, at the Franciscan Monastery of Santa Maria de Jesús in Barcelona. It was then a thriving city and international maritime power throughout Spain and Italy, embracing all types of artistic influences. Martorell was thus trained in the current International Gothic style, characterized by graceful courtly figures and sumptuously patterned textiles. He also delighted in naturalistic details and dramatic perspective. The geometric floor and ceiling decorations incorporate Mozarabic (arabized) influences, reflecting the centuries of Arab rule in Spain.

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