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The Annunciation

Artist: El Greco
(Candia 1541 – 1614 Toledo)

Date: ca. 1600
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions: 91 x 66.5 cm
with frame: 113 × 89 × 9 cm
Classification: painting
Inventory Number: 3537
Department: Old Master Paintings

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The Annunciation

In the picture of the Prado treating the same subject and painted in Venice, El Greco placed the Annunciation scene in a dynamic architectural setting and enlivened it with a group of cherubs. In this version, dating from the last years of the 16th century, the interior of the room is filled with clouds and flashing lights, in a way that the objects surrounding the Virgin – the simple prie-dieu, the book opening like a fan, the sewing-basket and the vase – are removed from real space and saturated with mystic significance. The wide, emphatic arc of the drapery covering the Virgin's knees seems only to make her small head and narrow, transfigured face appear as distant from us and as close to the heavenly messenger as possible.

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