QUERCIA, Jacopo della
(b. ca. 1367, Quercia Grossa, d. 1438, Siena)

Virgin Annunciate

Polychrome wood, height 175 cm
Collegiata, San Gimignano

In 1421 Jacopo della Quercia received a commission to carve an Annunciation for the Collegiata in San Gimignano. The two life-size, polychromed wooden statues represent his sole documented effort in this medium, so popular in Siena where marble was often difficult to obtain. The grouping of the figures is deliberately conservative in style, recalling the International Gothic idiom of the Ilaria effigy. Jacopo's stylistic range can be seen in his ability to be innovative on the one hand, and respectful of past traditions on the other. The latter characteristic is particularly visible in the delicate swaying stance of the long-limbed, high-waisted, lithesome Virgin, who places her arm protectively across her chest. The figure of Gabriel is less conventional yet he complements the Virgin completely in terms of posture and glance.

The delicate polychromy and the gilding serve to enhance both the youth and the ethereal quality of the two figures. The general sophistication of this group suggests that Jacopo was no novice at working in wood, which has led scholars to attribute a number of other wood sculptures to him.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.