(b. ca. 1454, Perugia, d. 1513, Siena)

The Annunciation (detail)

Collegiata di Santa Maria Maggiore, Spello

Beyond the gate and the garden wall with its elegant balusters - an iconographic allusion to the hortus conclusus - the actual background of the picture begins. It consists of a landscape of hills and tall cliffs dominated by the view of a city reminiscent of Spello. The two prominent city gates are remnants of Roman fortifications, and continue to dominate the Spello cityscape to this day. In front of these gates one sees a number of skirmishes between foot soldiers and attacking cavalry. Just beyond the garden gate is a roadside tavern with an arbour, beneath which a traveler, recognizable as such from his broad-brimmed hat, is being served while a groom leads his mount into the stable.