Annunciation by Bartolomeo Vivarini

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Annunciation by Bartolomeo Vivarini

Painting NameAnnunciation
Painter NameBartolomeo Vivarini
Current LocationPublic collection

The annunciation incident has been portrayed by mostly every major artist on canvas, fresco and many other materials. Every time the scene has been depicted in various ways and in various surroundings, but the core of the incident has always stayed true to the original.

Vivarini has depicted the painting in a way which is referred as “humanization” of the scene. He has included real world aspects in realistic manner. Today, it is not an eye-catching aspect of a painting, but taking the painting’s creation date in consideration, it was the time when today’s basic principles of a painting like perspectives and proportions were about to be discovered and were reckoned as major break-through in painting. In that time, the idea of perfectly creating a real world scenario in a painting was fascinating. That’s why art-historians emphasized the ‘realistic’ manner of a painting by calling it humanization of the scene.

Now, in the particular painting, there are most of all the symbolic elements are included which are generally found in an annunciation painting -the dove, the book, real world, God and the lily.

All of them have symbolic meanings, explicating the weight of the scene in different angles. The dove flying toward Mother Mary symbolizes the act of conception which took placed through virgin’s ear. The act of reading a book by mother Mary indicates her belief in religion and god as the book was about psalters. The lily angel Gabriel is holding signifies the purity of Mary. It is said that in before 14th century, the annunciation paintings portrayed Gabriel holding her scepter but then artists replaced it with a bud of lily-symbol of purity- to glorify Mother Mary’s purity.

And the last significant thing is the head of the God, the father. Most of all the Annunciation paintings consists such head of God, representing the God’s wish and blessings in the happening. Moreover, in the current picture which seems to be just red paint around God’s head, actually consist small heads of angels. Moreover, in the current picture, Mother Mary seems to be conceived.

Although, the picture is about 600 years old but still we can feel the freshness and relevancy to the real scene. It is the artist’s ability of understanding a scene and the skill to portray it decently.



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