The Archangel Gabriel announcing the birth of Christ

Artist: Lucas van Leyden (Netherlandish, Leiden ca. 1494–1533 Leiden)

Date: 1520s

Medium: Pen and brown ink; traces of squaring in black chalk

Dimensions: Sheet: 8 5/16 x 6 1/2 in. (21.1 x 16.5 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Promised Gift of Leon D. and Debra R. Black, and Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift and 2007 Benefit Fund, 2008

Accession Number: 2008.253


Lucas van Leyden, considered by many to be the first major Dutch artist, built his international fame almost exclusively upon his work as a printmaker. This drawing, one of fewer than thirty accepted as by him, is the latest addition to Lucas’s small drawn oeuvre. The sheet complements one of comparable size and technique in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin, which depicts the Virgin looking up in surprise at hearing the archangel’s message, and in which Lucas similarly married the figure’s monumentality with a rich and subtle pattern of lines, hatchings, and cross-hatchings.