Annunciation (Simone Martini)
Date ca. 1333
Medium Tempera on panel
Height 10 x 8’9″
Housed at Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena
This work was commissioned as another altarpiece to complement Duccio’s Maestà. Gabriel and Mary are flanked by local saints. Though the composition is simple, the scene carries an immense intensity, all focused upon Mary—note Gabriel’s intonations floating toward the Virgin “Ave Maria gratia plena Dominus tecum” against the brilliant gold background, and the other objects pointing to her at this critical moment: the saint’s quill, a stalk of lilies (symbolizing purity), a number of the sun’s rays, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove; Mary pulls away with surprise.