This painting shows the Annunciation, the moment that the Archangel Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary that she will become the mother of Jesus, God's son. Gabriel rushes in with the news, which Mary humbly accepts, as we can see from her body language. The scene is set in the style of architecture which was contemporary at the time the picture was painted. The work is particularly notable for Botticelli's use of mathematical perspective, giving an impression of believable three-dimensional depth, even though the image is painted on a flat surface. This effect is particularly noticeable on the left-hand side behind Gabriel, where a colonnade leads to a distant lake and trees.
Perspective was quite new at the time, and Florentine artists, including Botticelli, were among the first to adopt it. An inscription on the reverse tells us that the painting once hung in the Church of San Barnaba in Florence.
Where to see this painting?
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Argyle Street, Glasgow, Scotland, G3 8AG
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.