National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of The Presentation and Marriage of the Virgin, and the Annunciation Benedetto Diana (artist)
Venetian, c. 1460 - 1525
The Presentation and Marriage of the Virgin, and the Annunciation, 1520/1525
oil on panel
overall: 37.1 x 163.8 cm (14 5/8 x 64 1/2 in.) framed: 48.7 x 175.3 x 7 cm (19 3/16 x 69 x 2 3/4 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
1961.9.70
Not on View
From the Tour: Venetian Painting in the Early Renaissance
Object 6 of 7

Never completed, this painting was probably intended to be cut into three separate sections following the lines of the architecture and then used in the predella of an altarpiece. Located closer to the viewer's eye than an altarpiece's central panel, predellas were usually decorated with a series of small narrative scenes recounting events from the life of Christ, the Virgin, or the saints.

At the left, Mary appears to be about four years old. She enters the temple to undertake a life of service in fulfillment of a vow made by her aging parents. The broken column alludes to a legend that earthquakes rocked the temple when Christ was born. In more general terms the column symbolizes how Christ's birth will usher in a new era of Grace to replace the Old Testament Law. In the center, Mary is wed to Joseph. He was identified as God's choice to be her husband when the rod he held -- and which is still in his hands -- sprouted with new life. At the right, the Archangel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear the son of God.

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