Giovanni di Paolo (painter)|
Sienese, c. 1403 - 1482
The Annunciation and Expulsion from Paradise, c. 1435
tempera on panel
overall: 40 x 46.4 cm (15 3/4 x 18 1/4 in.) painted surface: 38.7 x 44.7 cm (15 1/4 x 17 5/8 in.) framed: 54.93 x 58.74 x 6.99 cm (21 5/8 x 23 1/8 x 2 3/4 in.)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
Object 10 of 10
Giovanni's brilliant color and pattern were typically Sienese, but he is distinguished from his teachers and contemporaries by an expressive imagination. His unique style is otherworldly and spiritual. Here the drama is heightened by a dark background and contrasting colors, nervous patterns, and unreal proportions. In the center, Gabriel brings news of Christ's future birth to the Virgin. Thus is put in motion the promise of salvation for humankind, a salvation necessitated by the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise, which we see happening on the left, outside Mary's jewellike home. Mary will reopen the doors of Paradise closed by Eve's sin. The scene of Joseph warming himself in front of a fire, on the right, is an unusual addition. Perhaps it refers simply to the season of Jesus' birth, but more likely it is layered with other meanings, suggesting the flames of hope and charity and invoking the winter of sin now to be replaced by the spring of this new era of Grace. The three scenes help make explicit the connection between the Fall and God's promise of salvation, which is fulfilled at the moment of the Annunication.
Though Giovanni's primary concern is not the appearance of the natural world, it is clear that he was aware of contemporary developments in the realistic depiction of space. Note how the floor tiles appear to recede, a technique adopted by Florentine artists experimenting with the new science of perspective.
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