Oil on canvas,
Metropolitan Museum of Art
More of the Annunciation
by the Metropolitan Museum, New York (source of the photograph):
Hans Memling, Flemish
(Bruges), active by 1465–died 1494
Oil on canvas,
from wood.; 30 x 21 1/8 in. (76.2 x 53.6 cm)
Like other fifteenth-century
Flemish painters working in the wake of Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling
religious imagery in the pictorial language of everyday life, paying
attention to naturalistic detail. This Annunciation takes place in a
appointed bedchamber, though many of the domestic furnishings have
connotations. The carafe of water, through which light passes
and the vase of lilies are symbols of the Virgin's purity, while the
candleholder signifies her imminent role as bearer of Christ, light of
the world. Gabriel's priestly garb alludes to the ritual of the Mass
therefore, the incarnation of Christ. A soft glowing light falls on the
Virgin and suffuses the room, elevating the scene from the realm of the
ordinary and signaling the sacred nature of the drama.
The Lehman "Annunciation,"
one of Memling's most important works, reportedly retained its original
frame, inscribed with the date 1482, well into the nineteenth century.
It has been suggested, however, that the final number of the
had become illegible and that the year recorded was actually 1489, a
more consonant with the painting's style.
Prince Michael Radziwill (d. 1831); his son, Prince Anton Radziwill (d.
1833), Berlin, Germany, by 1832; his son, Prince Wilhelm Radziwill (d.
1870), Berlin, Germany; by descent to Prince George Radziwill, Berlin,
Germany (d. 1904); his widow, Marie Branicka, Princess Radziwill,
Germany, until 1920; acquired by Philip Lehman from Marie Branicka
through Duveen Brothers in October 1920.