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Yaroslavl or Kostroma workshop

Room 3
Tempera on wood
31.9 x 31.5cm
1890 n. 9345

The icon depicts the archangel Gabriel announcing the conception of the Son of God to the Virgin. Mary is sitting on a precious Baroque-style bench, holding a book in which the beginning of the Magnificat is written, the song of praise the Virgin sang to God when meeting Elizabeth after the conception (Luke, 1:46-55). The event is set in a richly decorated palace which may be a reference to a liturgical text, the Canon of the Ascension, in which Mary is referred to as “palaces of glory”, to magnify her greatness. The scene leading up to the annunciation is depicted at the top, separated by a veil of clouds, with the archangel Gabriel receiving the announcement to make to Mary from God the Father.

This portrayal of the Annunciation, a feast celebrated by all of Christianity on 25 March, nine months before the birth of Christ, is characterised by its lavish architecture, composed of deep arches and columns enhanced by Baroque-style leafy decorations. The work, one of the most refined icons in the Florentine collection features stylistic characteristics that are different from all the others in the collection. The characteristics of the architectural elements, the colour palette, where the shades of green, brown and cinnabar red reign supreme, and the roundish faces with dark complexions all point to the pictorial tradition of the workshops in Yaroslavl and Kostroma at the end of the 17th century.

Text by
Daniela Parenti
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