Pictures by Old Masters of W.E. Biscoe, Esq. Also Important Pictures . . . from Different Sources. Christie's, London. June 20, 1896, no. 71, as by Martin Schongauer.
Georges H. de Loo Palais du Gouvernement, Bruges. Exposition de tableaux flamands des XIVe, XVe et XVIe siècles: catalogue critique précédé d'une introduction sur l'identité de certains maîtres anonymes. Ghent, 1902, p. 74, no. 276, as by the Master of the Death of the Virgin (Joos van der Beke dit Van Cleve).
W. H. James Weale. Exposition des primitifs flamands et d'art ancien, Bruges. Première section: tableaux. Catalogue. Exh. cat., Palais du Gouvernement. Bruges, 1902, p. 105, no. 276, as by the Master of the Death of the Virgin, but apparently an earlier printing of the same catalogue lists it as by Martin Schöngauer; notes (p. XXX) that all attributions given in the catalogue are those provided by owners.
[E.] Firmenich–Richartz in Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. 3, Leipzig, 1909, p. 217, dates it in his late period, lists it in the collection of Jules Porgès [Paris].
Max J. Friedländer. Von Eyck bis Bruegel: Studien zur Geschichte der Niederländischen Malerei. Berlin, 1916, p. 186, lists it with the works of Joos van Cleve.
Martin Conway. The Van Eycks and Their Followers. London, 1921, p. 403, notes that while the general design of our painting is borrowed from Jan Joest's panel in Calcar [Church of Saint Nicholas] the figure of Gabriel owes much to Gerard David's Annunciation at Sigmaringen [collection Hohenzollern–Sigmaringen, now MMA 50.145.9ab].
Friedrich Winkler. Die altniederländische Malerei: Die Malerei in Belgien und Holland von 1400–1600. Berlin, 1924, p. 249, as by Joos.
William B. M'Cormick. "Michael Friedsam Collection." International Studio 80 (November 1924), p. 122, ill.
Ludwig von Baldass. Joos van Cleve, der Meister des Todes Mariä. Vienna, 1925, p. 25, no. 48, fig. 51, as by Joos, about 1525.
Max J. Friedländer in The Michael Friedsam Collection. [completed 1928], p. 139, as by Joos van Cleve, who is "identical with the so-called 'Master of the Death of the Virgin'"; places it in his later period, about 1530.
E. M. Sperling. Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition of Flemish Primitives. Exh. cat., F. Kleinberger Galleries, Inc., New York. New York, 1929, p. 170, no. 55, ill.
The Encyclopædia Britannica. 13, 14th ed. London, 1929, p. 147.
Max J. Friedländer. "Joos van Cleve, Jan Provost, Joachim Patenier." Die altniederländische Malerei. 9, Berlin, 1931, p. 130, no. 25, dates it about 1525.
Bryson Burroughs and Harry B. Wehle. "The Michael Friedsam Collection: Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27, section 2 (November 1932), pp. 24–25, no. 34, ill.
Erwin Panofsky. "The Friedsam Annunciation and the Problem of the Ghent Altarpiece." Art Bulletin 17 (December 1935), pp. 450–53 n. 32, fig. 28, discusses the symbolism of numerous objects in this painting, as well as the juxtaposition of Old and New Testament figures and narratives; notes that the small altarpiece in the background represents the Adoration of the Magi, an event after the Annunciation, while its shutters represent the Meeting of Abraham and Melchisedek, a prefiguration of the Last Supper; observes that our panel "almost teems with intricately symbolical details, so that the overdevelopment of fifteenth century tendencies which characterizes the 'mannerism' of Joos van Cleve and his Antwerp contemporaries can be observed not only in style, but also in iconography"
G. M. A. R. "Notes." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 1 (December 1942), illustration on front cover (color detail) and inside front cover (overall), provides brief biographical notes on the artist.
Harry B. Wehle and Margaretta Salinger. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Early Flemish, Dutch and German Paintings. New York, 1947, pp. 135–37, ill., date it about 1525; compare the design of our picture to the Annunciation panel in Jan Joest's altarpiece in Calcar (Church of Saint Nicholas), which Joos van Cleve helped to paint.
Julius S. Held. "A Tondo by Cornelis Engebrechtsz." Oud-Holland 67, no. 1 (1952), pp. 236–37 n. 15, notes that a small tondo comparable to Memling's Salvator Mundi and Virgin and Child [MMA 32.100.54 and 32.100.59] hangs over the head end of the bed.
Erik Larsen. Les primitifs flamands au Musée Metropolitain de New York. Utrecht, 1960, pp. 92, 131, fig. 34, dates it about 1510, close to Joos's years of appprenticeship with Jan Joest.
A. Hyatt Mayor. Prints & People: A Social History of Printed Pictures. New York, 1971, unpaginated, fig. 90 (detail), suggests that the hand-colored woodcut of Moses on the back wall is a lost print by Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen; notes that "before about 1700 prints were commonly tacked (or fixed with wax) to walls".
Max J. Friedländer et al. "Joos van Cleve, Jan Provost, Joachim Patenier." Early Netherlandish Painting. 9, part 1, New York, 1972, p. 55, no. 25, pl. 47.
Alan M. Fern. "The Print as Subject." Baltimore Museum of Art Annual 4, part 2 (1972), pp. 102–3, ill.
Elga Lanc. "Die religiösen Bilder des Joos van Cleve." PhD diss., Universität Wien, 1972, p. 131, fig. 142.
John Oliver Hand. "Joos van Cleve: The Early and Mature Works." PhD diss., Princeton University, 1978, pp. 196–98, 303, no. 54, fig. 64, dates it about 1525; comments that the easy use of objects loaded with symbolic meaning suggests a certain standardization of the iconographic vocabulary.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "Underdrawings in Paintings by Joos van Cleve at the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Le dessin sous-jacent dans la peinture. Colloque 4, Louvain-la-Neuve, 1982, pp. 161–63, 166 nn. 7–9, ill. (including reflectograms of details), discusses the fluid underdrawing which is followed in the painted layers with minor adjustments.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "New Insights into Joos van Cleve as a Draughtsman." Essays in Northern European Art Presented to Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann on His Sixtieth Birthday. Doornspijk, The Netherlands, 1983, p. 16, finds in the similarities in underdrawing between the present work and Joos's Crucifixion altarpiece [MMA 41.190.20a–c] compelling evidence of the same hand at work.
Susan Koslow. "The Curtain-Sack: A Newly Discovered Incarnation Motif in Rogier van der Weyden's 'Columba Annunciation'." Artibus et Historiae no. 13 (1986), pp. 28, 32, ill., interprets the curtain sack of the bed as an analogy of form representative of the Incarnation, when the Word became flesh.
Introduction by James Snyder in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Renaissance in the North. New York, 1987, pp. 50, 52, ill. (color), sees the affluent domestic interior as a reflection of the prosperity of Antwerp, where the artist worked.
Martha Wolff. "An Image of Compassion: Dieric Bouts's Sorrowing Madonna." Museum Studies 15, no. 2 (1989), pp. 115–16, ill., comments on the numerous aids to private devotion used in 15th– and 16th–century Flanders that are depicted in this painting.
Introduction by Walter A. Liedtke in Flemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America. Antwerp, 1992, p. 432, no. 280, ill.
Ilja M. Veldman in Die Maler Tom Ring. Exh. cat., Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte. Münster, 1996, vol. 1, pp. 72–73, ill.
Maryan W. Ainsworth. "A Meeting of Sacred and Secular Worlds." From Van Eyck to Bruegel: Early Netherlandish Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1998, pp. 69, 92, 114, 118, 360, 364–65, no. 97, ill. (color), dates it about 1525, noting that Joos must have been familiar with David's Annunciation from the Cervara Altarpiece of 1506 (MMA 50.145.9ab).
Henk van Os in Netherlandish Art in the Rijksmuseum, 1400–1600. 1, Zwolle, The Netherlands, 2000, p. 11, fig. 1 (color), reproduces objects similar to those decorating the Virgin's bedroom here.
Michaela Krieger in Genie ohne Namen: Der Meister des Bartholomäus-Altars. Exh. cat., Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. Cologne, 2001, p. 239 n. 64.
Dagmar Eichberger. Leben mit Kunst, Wirken durch Kunst: Sammelwesen und Hofkunst unter Margarete von Österreich, Regentin der Niederlande. Turnhout, Belgium, 2002, p. 104, ill.
John Oliver Hand. Joos van Cleve: The Complete Paintings. New Haven, 2004, pp. 84, 148, no. 58, fig. 84 (color), sees the influence of Gerard David's Annunciation panels (MMA 50.145.9ab) and dates it about 1525.
Annette LeZotte. The Home Setting in Early Netherlandish Paintings: A Statistical and Iconographical Analysis of Fifteenth- and Early Sixteenth-Century Domestic Imagery. Lewiston, N.Y., 2008, pp. 39, 41–42, 64, 99–100, 107, 112–23, 153–57, asserts that this Annunciation "displays a variety of art objects which work together to communicate the identity of the Van Cleve workshop, the complex iconography and theological associations of the Biblical scene, and perhaps most significantly the socio-historical milieu in the city of Antwerp during the years after the start of the Protestant Reformation"; claims that it was rare for an artist to represent an illumination, a print and a panel painting within a single composition, as is the case here, and sees this as indicating a softening of guild regulations and the development of a collaborative environment in Antwerp by 1525, the panel's [approximate] date of execution; also sees the presence of these objects in a single work as a sign that "the need to eliminate visual references to the work of competing craftsmen may have diminished"; believes that "Joos van Cleve's emphasis on such 'images within images' in his Annunciation also served to promote the importance of art in Catholic devotional practice at a time when the use of imagery as part of the religious experience was being questioned by most Protestant Reformers".
Peter van den Brink in Joos van Cleve, Leonardo des Nordens. Exh. cat., Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum, Aachen. Stuttgart, 2011, p. 17.