The Annunciation

Italian (Marchigian?) Painter (first half 15th century)
Tempera and gold on wood
Overall 17 7/8 x 14 7/8 in. (45.4 x 37.8 cm); painted surface 15 1/4 x 14 in. (38.7 x 35.6 cm)
Credit Line:
The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
Accession Number:
Not on view
Inscription: Inscribed (on the wall, beside the Virgin): fiat m[ihi] se[cun]d[u]m v[e]rbu[m] tu[u]m (Be it unto me according to thy word [Luke 1:38].)
Richard von Kaufmann, Berlin (until d. 1908; his estate, 1908–17; his estate sale, Cassirer and Helbing, Berlin, December 4, 1917, no. 45, as by a Venetian painter, about 1440); Marczell von Nemes, Budapest; [Kleinberger, New York, until 1930]; Michael Friedsam, New York (1930–d. 1931)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Michael Friedsam Collection," November 15, 1932–April 9, 1933, no catalogue.

Max J. Friedländer. "Die italienischen Gemälde." Die Sammlung Richard von Kaufmann, Berlin. Cassirer and Hugo Helbing, Berlin. Vol. 1, December 4, 1917, vol. 1, p. 85–86, no. 45, ill. opp. p. 86, attributes it to a Venetian painter and dates it about 1440; finds it reminiscent of the work of Pisanello.

Bernard Berenson in The Michael Friedsam Collection. [completed 1928], pp. 64–65, attributes it to the school of Gentile da Fabriano and dates it about 1430.

Lionello Venturi. "Contributi a Masolino, a Lorenzo Salimbeni e a Jacopo Bellini." L'arte 33 (March 1930), pp. 179–80, fig. 6, as in the Friedsam collection, New York; attributes it to Lorenzo Salimbeni.

Bryson Burroughs and Harry B. Wehle. "The Michael Friedsam Collection: Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27, section 2 (November 1932), pp. 31–32, no. 49, attribute it to a North Italian painter and date it to the early fifteenth century.

David M. Robb. "The Iconography of the Annunciation in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries." Art Bulletin 18 (December 1936), p. 487 n. 35, mentions it in connection with a discussion of the "diving angel" in depictions of the Annunciation.

F. Mason Perkins. Letter. March 24, 1938, considers it reminiscent of the Salimbeni, but not actually by them.

Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, p. 102, ill., attributes it to a follower of the Salimbeni.

William S. Heckscher. "Bernini's Elephant and Obelisk." Art Bulletin 29 (September 1947), p. 179 n. 127, calls it possibly the earliest depiction of God with a triangular halo, representing the Trinity.

Carl Huter. Letter to Elizabeth Gardner. November 4, 1964, calls the style that of Verona and the eastern Veneto.

Carl Huter. Letter to Elizabeth Gardner. August 17, 1965, identifies a similar triangular halo in an illuminated manuscript in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (MS. Can. Bibl. Lat. 58), which he attributes to the eastern Veneto, probably Padua rather than Venice, and dates to about 1430 or slightly later.

Burton B. Fredericksen and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass., 1972, pp. 249, 302, 607, as by an unknown Veronese painter of the fourteenth century.

Christiane L. Joost-Gaugier. "A Florentine Element in the Art of Jacopo Bellini." Acta Historiae Artium 21 (1975), pp. 361–62, 369 n. 12, fig. 6, states that "it may be the work of a more provincial master than one in the immediate following of Gentile da Fabriano or Jacopo Bellini"; calls it "Venetian (?), 15th Century" in the caption of the illustration.

Alberto Rossi. I Salimbeni. Milan, 1976, p. 218, no. 15, rejects Venturi's [see Ref. 1930] attribution to Lorenzo Salimbeni.

Federico Zeri with the assistance of Elizabeth E. Gardner. Italian Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, North Italian School. New York, 1986, pp. 80–81, pl. 10, attribute it to a Veronese painter and date it to the first half of the fifteenth century; call the treatment of the draperies reminiscent of Belbello da Pavia and the Master of the Sagra at Carpi.

Andrea De Marchi. Gentile da Fabriano: Un viaggio nella pittura italiana alla fine del gotico. Milan, 1992, p. 132 n. 49, tentatively attributes it to a painter he calls the Master of the Brancaccio triptych [the eponymous work is in the Museo Piersanti, Matelica]; calls the style a clear reflection of the more mature Gentile da Fabriano.

The state is poor. The surface, including the gilded gesso work in relief, is everywhere eroded by water damage and abrasion. The features are entirely redrawn and, although it is difficult to judge the secondary areas because of the thick, wrinkled layer of oxydized varnish, these have probably also been gone over. [from Zeri and Gardner 1986]