The National Museum of Art of Romania
Tintoretto – The Annunciation
Artwork description
Jacopo Robusti TINTORETTO
(Venice, 1518-1594)
Italian school
Oil on canvas
100 x 124 cm
Inv. 9543/1577
Artwork location
European Art Gallery, 1st floor, room 2
Sign language video
Sign language video

Tintoretto sets the Annunciation, one the most popular religious subjects of the 16th century, inside a contemporary Venetian palazzo. The Archangel Gabriel seems to take the Virgin by surprise, while she was praying at her prie-dieu beside a canopied bed. She looks like a young chaste Venetian aristocrat, her hair and low neck covered with a transparent silk veil. The elongated bodies of the two characters elegantly turn around in a swirl that lendss the composition a spiral movement. The geometric design of the pavement is meant to lead us into the palazoo’s courtyard and then further out into the classical portico and the landscape beyond.

Heavily draped velvet curtains blown by the archangel’s flight form a flexible divide between two worlds, the Divine and the secular. The foreground seems presided by the white dove above, representing the Holy Spirit.

However, in the lower left corner as we look at the painting, a coiled cat gazes outside the picture space as if willing to draw our attention that we are priviledged to watch a double miracle: the Annunciation and the representation by Tintoretto of a holy moment no mortal had witnessed.

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