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Overview

These two graceful figures, rare life-sized painted wood sculptures surviving from the late Middle Ages, enact the Annunciation as described in the gospel of Saint Luke. Mary responds with restrained amazement to the angel's news that she will become the mother of Christ. Carved completely in the round, with traces of early painting still visible, the statues might have flanked the entrance to the high-altar area of a church. They are early copies from a popular pair of 14th-century marble statues in the church of Santa Caterina in Pisa, Italy. Carbon dating has indicated that each was carved from a tree that was felled at least 600 years ago.

Provenance

Count Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi [1878-1955]. Acquired 1950 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1961 to NGA.[1]

Bibliography
1956
Paintings and Sculpture from the Kress Colllection Acquired by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation 1951-56. Introduction by John Walker, text by William E. Suida and Fern Rusk Shapley. National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1956: 254, 256, no. 106, repro. 257, as by Nino Pisano.
1959
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 391, repro., as by Nino Pisano.
1961
Walker, John, Guy Emerson, and Charles Seymour. Art Treasures for America: An Anthology of Paintings & Sculpture in the Samuel H. Kress Collection. London, 1961:, 6-8, color repro. 9, 10, as by Nino Pisano.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 163, as by Nino Pisano.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 144, repro., as by Nino Pisano.
1976
Middeldorf, Ulrich. Sculptures from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools XIV-XIX Century. London, 1976: 8.
1992
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 280, repro.
1994
Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1994: 174, repro.
2016
National Gallery of Art. Highlights from the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Washington, 2016: 38, repro.