Saturday, July 10, 2010

An Annunciation by Caravaggio

As it is Saturday in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (29 September 1571 – 18 July 1610)
The Annunciation c. 1608
Oil on canvas
241 x 205 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy, Nancy

It was painted in Malta in 1608. It was acquired by Henry II, Duke of Lorraine and later acquired by the Cathedral of Nancy where it was hung. However in the French Revolution it was seized and taken to the Museum in 1793 where it has remained ever since.

However it is presently in Rome for restoration.

Of this painting D. Arasse in his work on L’Annonciation italienne (The Italian Annunciation)(1999), wrote:

“ la structure repose sur le contraste violent de la lumière et de l’ombre et sur l’équilibre dynamique des corps. Aucune construction géométrique de l’espace ne vient plus cadrer la composition. La force de rupture de la révolution caravagesque est d’autant plus sensible qu’on y retrouve de nombreux éléments élaborés par les peintres du XVIe siècle. La Renaissance est terminée ”.

Mary has dropped to her knees from a wooden chair by her unmade bed.

Gabriel`s face is hidden. One can see a trace of his red hair. The lillies are a sign of Gabriel and also of Mary.

The lillies are not painted with any degree of meticulousness. Caravaggio once remarked that painting a flower took as much trouble as depicting a human figure. Perhaps he ran out of time.