Temple Gallery

Established 1959

Annunciation - exhibited at the Temple Gallery, specialists in Russian icons

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YY005. Annunciation

Greece, Ionian Isles (?)
Circa 1750
37 x 28.9 cmClick here to convert metric size to imperial

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The scene takes place in front of large buildings with a colonnaded balcony. On our right the Virgin is shown standing with one hand holding a closed codex, and the other with palm opened outwards in a gesture of acceptance and submission. She gazes slightly towards her right where the angel Gabriel has appeared. Gabriel is dressed in a bright red himation and holds a lily in his left hand. At the top of the panel the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, is flying towards the Virgin from rays of divine light.

The narrative derives from the Gospel of Luke, where the Incarnation of Christ is announced to the Virgin by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:26-38).

Though the current icon still retains many Byzantine elements, we can also identify western influences, such as the colonnaded balcony and the lily that Gabriel holds. In this sense the icon can be compared to an 18th century version of the same subject attributed to an icon-painting workshop on one of the Ionian Islands in Greece (fig. a). Writing about this icon, Chrysanthi Baltaoyianni states that such features ‘all bear witness to an 18th century Ionian island atelier receptive to western influences.’ Because of the similarity to stylistic features of our icon, the same attribution can reasonably be made here.

Fig. a. Annunciation, Greece, Ionian Isles, 18th century, D. Ekonomopoulos Collection, Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki, Greece