(b. 1444, Firenze, d. 1510, Firenze)

The Annunciation

c. 1485
Tempera and gold on wood, 19,1 x 31,4 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This picture is one of the jewels of 15th-century Italian art, embodying the achievements that made Florence so famous and influential. The classical architectural setting is carefully rendered in linear perspective, one of the great discoveries of Florentine artists. The figures of the Virgin and the archangel Gabriel, virtually mirror images of each other, are separated by the centre row of pillars, but they are subtly drawn together into a unified composition by the rays of light carrying God's message from heaven. The complex composition, as well as the lyrical quality of the drawing and the transparency of the colours, are characteristic of Botticelli's mature style.