MAZZONI, Sebastiano
(b. ca. 1611, Firenze, d. 1678, Venezia)


c. 1650
Oil on canvas, 226 x 157 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

The Florentine artist Sebastiano Mazzoni, who was a poet and architect as well as a painter, rivals Francesco Maffei as the most lively and imaginative painter of the Baroque period in Venice. Under the influence of Fetti, Liss and above all Strozzi, Mazzoni aimed for a style of airily elegant images moving in a space with which he could experiment ex novo in freely imaginative terms. His early training in Tuscany did however remain influential with the result that in Mazzoni the decorative exuberance of Maffei seems to be passed through an intellectual filter even in the bolder examples of figure painting.

In the Annunciation, the angel bends over the Virgin who is depicted humbly accepting the divine message. Against the architectural background, the two figures spread over the limited space, while their colours are of the most refined. This lyrical evocation of reality through highly coloured facets dissolved into the atmosphere in dancing rhythms was to be completely understood only in the eighteenth century.