The Annunciation

Artist: Gerard David (Netherlandish, Oudewater ca. 1455–1523 Bruges)

Date: 1506

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: Angel, overall 31 1/8 x 25 in. (79.1 x 63.5 cm), painted surface 30 1/4 x 24 3/8 in. (76.8 x 61.9 cm); Virgin, overall 31 1/8 x 25 1/4 in. (79.1 x 64.1 cm), painted surface 30 1/2 x 24 3/4 in. (77.5 x61.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Mary Stillman Harkness, 1950

Accession Number: 50.145.9ab


These panels were part of a spectacular multi-storied polyptych commissioned by Vincenzo Sauli, a wealthy Italian banker and diplomat with connections to Bruges, for the high altar of the Benedictine abbey church of San Gerolamo della Cervara, near Genoa. Taking the placement of the Annunciation within the altarpiece into account, David has altered the perspective and the scale of the figures, since both panels were meant to be viewed from below. In style, the ensemble reveals a synthesis of northern and Italian artistic modes that perhaps reflect the patron’s ties to both regions.