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Paolo Veronese and Workshop
Oil on canvas
Framed: 176 x 159.5 x 9.5 cm (69 5/16 x 62 13/16 x 3 3/4 in.); Unframed: 150 x 133.4 cm (59 1/16 x 52 1/2 in.)
Gift of the Hanna Fund 1950.251
The white lilies held by Gabriel are a symbol of Mary's purity and innocence, often appearing in depictions of the Annunciation.
Although Veronese is best known for his large-scale, pageant-like presentations, here the artist has taken the narrative of the Annunciation (the announcement of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and bear a son) and compressed the figures close to one another, creating a startling intimacy. According to a tradition established by the medieval writer Saint Bernard, Mary has been reading from the Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah (7:14), "A young woman is with child and she will bear a son."
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