Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Artist

Denys Calvaert (Dionisio or Denis Calvaert) (Antwerp, Belgium, ca. 1540 - 1619, Bologna, Italy)

Title

Annunciation

Creation Date

ca. 1595

Century

late16th century

Dimensions

20 13/16 in. x 15 7/16 in. (52.86 cm x 39.21 cm)

Object Type

painting

Creation Place

Europe, Italy

Medium and Support

oil on copper

Credit Line

Museum Purchase, Laura T. and John H. Halford, Jr. Art Acquisition Fund, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund and Jane H. and Charles E. Parker, Jr. Art Acquisition Fund

Copyright

Public Domain

Accession Number

2010.36
Born in Antwerp, Denys Calvaert was one of the first Northern artists to migrate to Italy, where he focused on Christian subjects. His work demonstrates the widespread power of Christian convictions among European adherents and their colonizing descendants. The Annunciation encapsulates a transformative moment in Christianity when the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear the Son of God, who would be called Jesus, conceived through the Holy Spirit. Painted on copper, its smooth surface gives a pearlescent sheen. The picture was almost certainly privately commissioned and, like Gherardo’s painting of Mary Magdalene on view nearby, used as a personal devotional object. Europeans believed that Christianity represented what was true and moral. As a result, other forms of worship or beliefs in the supernatural world were afforded little value, even though they that held great meaning among non-European cultures.

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