Annunciation (circa 1435, Madrid) Fra Angelico Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Annunciation is a famous Christian theme which inspired several different paintings by Fra Angelico, as well as a large number of other Renaissance artists within their own careers. This particular version is dated at around 1435 and can now be found in the collection of the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain.

This fresco artwork was commissioned for the Convent of San Domenico in Fiesole, which is a small town on the outskirts of the city of Florence. Fra Angelico was well known to the convent and so was the obvious choice to put together this painting that was intended to be displayed in a side altar once complete. The artist was entirely familiar with The Annunciation as well as most other famous Christian themes and so was happy to get to work on this project. He would take on additional commissions for this building over time and continued to work with religious content throughout his entire career. Two centuries later the fresco was sold to the King of Spain and transported over to Madrid, which is how it comes to be in the Prado Museum in the present day. That impressive institution also hosts a number of other artworks from Fra Angelico's career and best serves historical art from Spain and Italy.

Sadly, other items from the same convent would also be sold off over time, though one benefit to this has been in the ways in which they have been preserved for future generations to enjoy which may not have been the case had they stayed in their original positions. Much of the Spanish monarch's purchases were displayed within his own residences until eventually it was decided to move much of the collection over to the Prado Museum so that the public could start to enjoy some of these important artworks. The same situation has occurred with many other monarchs across Europe too, including in the UK where a fairer and stronger connection to the public has been sought in recent years. Fra Angelico chose a fairly similar style to each of his Annunciation paintings, tending to just tweak different elements of detail rather than producing completely different interpretations.

In terms of precision and detail, this Madrid Annunciation from circa 1435 is perhaps the best of all. Fra Angelico incorporates some stunning touches which really make the most of the theme at hand. See, for example, the golden blind which hangs behind Mary, as well as the bright beam of light which strikes down across the painting from the top left. There is also a real focus on the garden outside, with individual plants treated with care and attention, producing an overall piece which oozes interest and beauty. Some might be reminded of Sandro Botticelli's Primavera in terms of the outside detail, or perhaps instead some paintings by Albrecht Durer. The stone work across the building in this painting is also carefully crafted and helps to remind us of yet another genre that Fra Angelico managed to master across his highly prolific career.

Annunciation (circa 1435, Madrid) in Detail Fra Angelico