The Virgin Annunciate

early 13th century
Northern or Central Italy
54.4 x 23.8 x 6 cm

The Annunciation is one of the most commonly depicted scenes from the Life of the Virgin. Although its iconography adheres to a certain set of standards, there is also much variation in how the scene was portrayed throughout the Middle Ages. In Byzantine art, the Virgin is often depicted without a book but with a roll of wool because according to the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, she helped spin a veil for the temple using purple wool. It was during this moment, as she worked at her task, that the angel Gabriel appeared and brought the news of her conception of the Christ Child. A vivid example of this iconography is present in this sculpture.

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Sam Fogg
Art of the Middle Ages