Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Annunciation

Sassetta (Stefano di Giovanni) (Italian, Siena or Cortona ca. 1400–1450 Siena)
ca. 1435
Tempera on wood, gold ground
Overall, with engaged (modern) frame, 30 x 17 1/8 in. (76.2 x 43.5 cm); painted surface 28 3/4 x 16 1/8 in. (73 x 41 cm)
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 956
The vase of lilies, prominently placed between the Angel Gabriel and the Virgin in this Annunciation scene, symbolizes both the Virgin’s purity as well as Christ’s Incarnation. The panel was originally part of the highly celebrated altarpiece that Sassetta, the renowned Sienese artist, painted between 1437 and 1444 for the Franciscan church of Borgo San Sepolcro in Arezzo. The Annunciation formed the central pinnacle on the back side of this multi-paneled, double-sided altarpiece. The panel has been the subject of considerable abrasion, repainting, and has been cut down in size.
The panel bears a Florentine export stamp dated April 7, 1927. Vicomte Bernard d'Hendecourt, Paris; Ercole Canessa, New York; Alfred S. Seligsberg; sale American Art Association, New York. January 13, 1934, no. 534. Acquired by Robert Lehman in 1934.
Raimond van Marle. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. Vol. 9, Late Gothic Painting in Tuscany. The Hague, 1927, p. 360.

American Art Association. Period Furniture.1934, p. 112. Cat. no. 534.

John Pope-Hennessy. Sassetta. London, 1939, pp. 170, 194 n. 55. Pl. XXVIIIA.

Cesare Brandi. Quattrocentisti senesi. Milan, 1949, p. 225.

Charles Sterling, ed. Exposition de la collection Lehman de New York. Exh. cat., Musée de l'Orangerie. Paris, 1957, no. 49. Pl. X.

Michel Laclotte. "A propos des primitifs italiens de la collection Lehman." L’information d’histoire de l’art, 2 (1957), p. 50.

Carlo Volpe. "Review of Sassetta e il Maestro dell’Osservanza by Enzo Carli." Arte antica e moderna, 1 (1958), p. 86.

The Lehman Collection. Exh. cat., Cincinnati, 1959, no. 24.

Bernard Berenson. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Central Italian and North Italian Schools. Vol. 1, London, 1968, p. 386.

George Szabó. The Robert Lehman Collection: A Guide. New York, 1975, pp. 49-50. Pl. 15.

Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 222, 232.

Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. Vol. 1, New York, 1980, p. 168.

John Pope-Hennessy assisted by Laurence B. Kanter in The Robert Lehman Collection. Vol. 1, Italian Paintings. New York, 1987, pp. 102-104, no. 43.

Keith Christiansen in Painting in Renaissance Siena: 1420–1500. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1988, p. 84.

Dominique Thiébaut. "Sassetta tel un puzzle." Connaissance des arts, 434 (1988), p. 53.

Keith Christiansen. "Stefano di Giovanni called Sassetta." Gothic to Renaissance: European painting 1300-1600. Exh. cat., London; New York, 1988, p. 46-47, 48, Fig. 1.

Dominique Thiébaut. "Sassetta." Polyptyques: le tableau multiple du moyen âge au vingtième siècle. Exh. cat., Paris, 1990, pp. 80, 85.

James R. Banker. "The Program for the Sassetta Altarpiece in the Church of S. Francesco in Borgo S. Sepolcro." I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance, 4 (1991), pp. 29, 35, 36 n. 66. Fig. 23.

Dillian Gordon. "The Reconstruction of Sassetta's Altar-Piece for S. Francesco, Borgo San Sepolcro, a Postscript." The Burlington Magazine, 135 (1993), p. 620.

Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, pp. 50-51.

Donal Cooper. "Franciscan Choir Enclosures and the Function of Double-Sided Altarpieces in Pre-Tridentine Umbria." Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 64 (2001), p. 19. Fig. 11.

Dillian Gordon. The Fifteenth Century: Italian Paintings. Vol. 1, London, 2003, pp. 347, 351, 353-354.

Miklós Boskovits in Italian Paintings of the Fifteenth Century. Washington, 2003, p. 621.

Laurence B. Kanter. "The National Gallery's New Catalogue of Fifteenth-Century Italian Paintings." The Burlington Magazine, 146 (2004), p. 107.

Sybille Luig. "Sassetta." Geschichten auf Gold: Bilderzählungen in der frühen italienischen Malerei . Berlin, 2005, p. 269.

Kate Taylor. "With CT Scan, Met Solves 15th-Century Mystery." New York Sun (May 22, 2007), pp. 1, 3.

Machtelt Israëls. Sassetta: the Borgo San Sepolcro altarpiece. Florence, 2009, pp. 14, 194-97, 220, 260, 271, 272, 278, 301, 306 n. 8, 538-543, 590, 593.

Rachel Billinge. "Some Panels from Sassetta's Sansepolcro Altarpiece' revisited." National Gallery Technical Bulletin, 30 (2009), p. 9.

Andrea De Marchi. "Il politico di Sassetta per San Francesco a Sansepolcro perlustrato." Prospettiva, 139-140 (2010), p. 117. Fig. 2.

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