Lorenzo di Credi (Florence, 1456/1460 - 1536)
Strong emphasis is given to the architecture of the Virgin’s house, with a glimpse of her room, with a bed and lectern on which there is a book. The Virgin, as if diverted from her reading, turns around to respond to the greeting of Archangel Gabriel, who pays homage to her, crossing his hands over his chest. The two figures are set at the sides of the painting, leaving the center of the composition to the poetic landscape, that stretches out into the distance, framed by an arch with three openings leading onto a portico in classic style. The monochrome tone of the architecture is interrupted by four round openings that show the blue sky. The decoration of the parapet in the foreground is also monochrome, taking on the appearance of a predella, divided into three scenes using pilasters. These scenes depict three episodes from the bible: from the left, the creation of Eve; Adam and Eve's original sin, and the banishment of the two sinners from the earthly paradise. The Virgin Annunciate is the “new Eve”, the woman who will give birth to the saviour of humanity, condemned by the sins of its ancestors. The painting is a complex theological piece, reflecting the spirituality of the period of Girolamo Savonarola’s preachings.
The origins of the painting are not known. It shows a shield with an eagle between the pilasters of the predella, perhaps the emblem of the person who commissioned the painting. It became part of the collection belonging to Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici in the 17th century.