Annunciation in Florence: architecture and artworks
The Annunciation (to the Blessed Virgin Mary) is a Christian feast: it is the celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive the Son of God. The date of the Annunciation feast is March, 25th.
This year 2018 the calendar brings the Annunciation very close to the Easter (April, 1st): in a way, this spring could be the occasion for a thematic tour of Florence, focused on artworks related to the iconography of the two feasts.
Annunciation and the Florentine connection with Virgin Mary
Along with St. John the Baptist, the Virgin Mary (in Italian simply la Madonna, from ma – modern Italian: mia – donna: milady) had a great importance in the Medieval and Renaissance Florence.
The Duomo, the Cathedral, is consecrated to Santa Maria (del Fiore) – Saint Mary of the Flower, and the specific iconography of the Annunciation is popular in the Florentine artworks as well. The most… iconic (pun not intended) one is for sure the Leonardo’s One.
The (not only) Leonardo’s Annunciation, Uffizi Gallery
Painted circa 1472 – 1475, this oil and tempera painting is by a young Leonardo (1452 – 1519) still working at the Andrea del Verrocchio (1435 – 1488) bottega (workshop, artist’s studio).
The painting was acquired by the Uffizi in 1867. It was earlier in the Olivetan monastery of San Bartolomeo and attributed to Domenico Ghirlandaio, another apprentice at the Verrocchio’s bottega.
The painting is not perfect – Leonardo was still a rookie, at that time! – but the footprint of a genius in in it already, along with the Leonardo’s ability to use the observation of the nature to give his art depth.
The other Annunciation paintings at the Uffizi Gallery
Not only Leonardo gave a take of the Annunciation topos
The Uffizi Gallery includes some great Medieval Annunciation paintings: the Annunciazione con i santi Ansano e Margherita by Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi (XIV Century Senese School); the Botticelli’s Annunciazione di Cestello and Annunciazione di San Martino alla Scala.
More Annunciation paintings wait for you in Florence, and churches entitled to the Annunciation as well: for another post!