LIPPI, Fra Filippo
(b. 1406, Firenze, d. 1469, Spoleto)
Tempera on wood, 64 x 23 cm (each panel)
Frick Collection, New York
The original function of this Annunciation is not known. They could be the exterior wings of a small devotional altarpiece, or perhaps they were intended to be framed as we see them today. The colours of the floor and the wall are not treated uniformly but differ in the two halves of the room, making it clear that the panels were not joined.
In this depiction of the Annunciation the young Gabriel moves toward the Virgin with a silent and reverential grace, gathering up his cloak with his left hand, while with the other he holds a long stem of lilies. The Virgin, who has just entered the room, responds with a gesture of humble acceptance and modest salutation. The room itself is defined simply and efficaciously by a steeply foreshortened molding and corbels supporting the cross vault.