The Annunciation

Fra Angelico was a fifteenth-century Italian Dominican monk, whose style illustrates the transition of painting from the Medieval Gothic to the Renaissance style. This work was designed as an altarpiece. The subject is the Annunciation, which was the episode in which the Archangel St. Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she was to be the mother of Jesus Christ, who would come to save mankind from its original sin.

The idea of the sin committed by Adam and Eve, which began to gain importance with St. Augustine in the 4th century, is shown in the scene on the left hand side, where we can see the moment when the Parents of Mankind are expelled from Paradise.

The vegetation that fills up the scene has been painstakingly painted, in the Flemish fashion, and Adam and Eve appear modestly dressed. The main scene is located among Classical architecture, in the Renaissance style. Note the strong blues; they were obtained from Lapis Lazuli, a semi-precious stone that was ground up and mixed with oils to achieve this shade of blue. The golden halos that are seen around the heads of the Virgin Mary and the Archangel are medieval in influence.

The bottom of the picture shows scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary. The central scene is especially interesting. We can see an Adoration of the Magi in which there is no black king. This is because he only began to be depicted in the late 15th century, when the Church made the change in an attempt to make Christianity a more universal religion.

(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Catalina Serrano Romero
English translation (a) Thisbe Burns