The Bible tells the story of how the Virgin Mary is visited by the Angel Gabriel who announces that she will be the mother of the Messiah. Mary is portrayed in her sitting room. The homy atmosphere is emphasised by the wicker basket that contains Mary's sewing and the sleeping cat in the bottom right-hand corner of the canvas.
Rubens started working on this painting after his stay in Italy, where he had come under the influence of the great painters of the Renaissance. This Italianate influence is evident from the unusually bright colours and the free style, which both contribute to the scene's dynamics. Rubens used ultramarine for Mary's cloak, a precious pigment made from finely ground lapis lazuli.
- Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
- The Annunciation
- Oil on canvas