FRANCIABIGIO
(b. ca. 1482, Firenze, d. 1525, Firenze)

Betrothal of the Virgin

1513
Fresco, 395 x 321 cm
Santissima Annunziata, Florence

Around 1512-13 several painters were employed by the Servite friars to fresco the atrium of the SS Annunziata in Florence. The mostly young artists included Franciabigio, Rosso Fiorentino, Pontormo, Francesco Indaco and Bandinelli, they were symbolically led by Andrea del Sarto.

The Betrothal of the Virgin in the atrium was considered by Vasari Franciabigio's masterpiece. It contains moderately sized figures and expansive architecture which resembles a church facade with a loggia, perhaps meant as an idealized representation of the Annunziata itself. The painting contains a great deal of anecdotical details and superb portraits of contemporary males at the left edge; furthermore, it features Old Testament scenes in fictive reliefs in the upper architecture.

The fresco is badly damaged by abrasion in the paint layers, in the face of the Virgin and other places.