In these two small pictures, Van Eyck has displayed his skill with an original Annunciation scene that he has designed to look like sculpture. This 15th-century Flemish painter stood on the threshold of the transition from Gothic to Renaissance painting. He made great improvements to oil painting technique, and this enabled him to make his pictures look more natural. This can be seen in some of his masterpieces, such as the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, in Ghent Cathedral, or the Arnolfini Wedding, at the National Gallery in London.
The black background of the picture serves to highlight the monochrome figures, conveying the feeling that they are made of stone. This is increased by standing both figures on the base of a column. The Virgin Mary, painted with studied elegance in her tunic and mantle, holds a book in her hands, and a small dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, is about to alight on her head. The Angel, with his gesture of greeting, is in perfect harmony with the figure of Mary, while the diagonal line of its wings appear to come out of the painting. Both figures cast shadows onto the painted frames, contributing to an incredible sense of almost three-dimensional relief. At the top of the frames, there are Latin inscriptions from the Gospel according to St. Luke. Above the Archangel Gabriel, it says: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women”. And above the Virgin is says: "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it to me according to your word”
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Text (a) Catalina Serrano Romero
Photo X (a) Nombre Apellidos, Lic. cc aa yy zz uu
Fhoto Y (a) Nombre Apellidos, Lic. cc aa yy zz uu
Independently produced by MUSMon.com, the audio guide for the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum offers you a wide-ranging, light-hearted and educational tour of one of Spain’s most outstanding art museums. It contains 90 minutes of commentary, illustrated with over 52 high-quality images, so you won’t miss a single detail during your visit.
We will guide you on your journey through the history of painting. +info