Leonardo da Vinci, Annunciazione, Uffizi

Uffizi, Leonardo da Vinci, Annunciation

This 15th Century masterpiece painted with oil and wood

Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6
Little is known about the origins of Leonardo da Vinci’s Annunciation. It is believed to have been completed between 1472-75, and it was one of Leonardo’s first commissioned works, while he was still at the workshop of his master Verrocchio.


The oil on wood painting depicts the story of the Annunciation, that is when Archangel Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary that God had chosen her as the mother of Jesus Christ. The work remained relatively unknown until 1867, when it was moved from a convent near Florence to the Uffizi Gallery. It was then that critics began discussing that it was an early work by Leonardo (even though many believed it was painted by Ghirlandaio or Verrocchio). This painting is very much influenced by the Renaissance style as well as the artwork of Lorenzo di Credi.


New elements distinguish this piece from this iconography represented by precedents of the earlier Renaissance period, however. The scene is depicted as taking place outside, in contrast to medieval iconography, in which the Virgin Mary Annunciate is always indoors, and sometimes Gabriele is outdoors or just coming through the door.


The angel’s physical depth is shown as he lands down on the grass after flying down from heaven with his wings still fluttering. He is a ‘classical’ angel according to traditional iconography, but his wings differ in that they are similar to those of a bird. They are very realistically painted. The way the clothing drapes on both figures is also very realistic.


According to Giorgio Vasari, Leonardo used to make chalk models of his figures and clothe them in order to accurately study the way in which the clothing draped on the figures.


With the right hand, Gabriel blesses the Virgin Mary, and in his left hand, he is holding a lily, a symbol for purity. The Virgin Mary is sitting down in front of a bookstand or small altar, which is decorated with classical motifs that seem very much influenced by Verrocchio.


The Virgin Mary has her right hand and arm unrealistically stretched out and seems to be reading the book in front of her, from back to front! In the background, there is a river with boats, mountains and trees. The line of cypress helps to physically divide the backdrop.


An astonishing city of art, fashion and tradition
If you are visiting Tuscany you cannot miss Florence. The Renaissance city is a treasure trove of art with an astonishing contemporary vibe. Beyond the extraordinary artistic heritage, a testimony to its centuries of civilization, the best way to enjoy Florence is to stroll along the riverside avenues at sunset, or to get lost among the city’s myriad alleyways of the bohemian Oltrarno or the ...