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Altarpiece of the Annunciation
Correa de Vivar, Juan
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Correa de Vivar, Juan

Mascaraque (Toledo, Spain), 1510 - Toledo (Spain), 1566

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Altarpiece of the Annunciation

1559. Oil on panel.
Room 052C

The Museo del Prado’s collections include an important group of paintings by Juan de Correa de Vivar, an artist based in Toledo who must have been born at the beginning of the 16th century in the town of Mascaraque and died in the Imperial City in 1566. In total, these are nearly forty works from the former Museo Nacional de la Trinidad. Like many other 16th-century Spanish religious painters, Correa de Vivar stood out for his meticulously painted works for altarpieces, structures of various types whose narrative and stylistic contents were adapted to the overall perception of the group.

In this scene from the New Testament (Luke I, 28-36), the Archangel Gabriel informs Mary of her pregnancy in the presence of God-the-Father and the Holy Ghost, who appears in the form of a dove. Mary’s virginity and purity are symbolized by a spray of white lilies in the foreground, while the book lying open on the table shows the burning bush that appeared to Moses on Mount Tabor and was never consumed by the flames. This was the central panel of the altarpiece whose other two doors are also at the Museo del Prado: Saint Stephen/The Imposition of the Chasuble on saint Ildephonse (P01301) and Saint Laurence/Saint Hilary (P01300).

This altar was commissioned by the community of the Order of Saint Jerome for the monastery at Guisando in Avila, where it was already documented in 1559. At the time, Correa de Vivar was deeply involved in mannerism, with a very carefully crafted production that draws on Italian prints. That explains the similarity of his figures, architectural elements and compositional notes to the work of Raphael. The three separate panels now considered part of that altarpiece -The Annunciation, Saint Stephen/The Imposition of the Chasuble on saint Ildephonse and Saint Laurence/Saint Hilary- arrived at the Museo de la Trinidad with no reference to their author or provenance. The Annunciation was ignored at the Museo del Prado until 1945, when Sánchez Cantón ascribed it, with some doubt, to correa. He also thought it might be by Comones. Somewhat later, Post, Ángulo and Camón Aznar definitively reaffirmed the attribution to Correa de Vivar. In 1982, The Annunciation and the two panels with the holy deacons (Saint Stephen and Saint Laurence) were exhibited together, forming a triptych of the sort that Correa had made for the monastery at Guisando. Later, the three works were hung together as part of the Museo del Prado’s permanent exhibition. X-rays and infra-red reflectography of the three panels show small rectifications to properly fit the three elements into the compositions. The x-ray of the central panel, The Annunciation, has revealed the painter’s peculiar manner of scoring the panels once their corresponding boards -five in all- were joined. He thus generated a rhomboidal grid of cuts. The other interesting aspect is his careful drawing, which is very visible in the reflectography of the holy deacons. Correa initially drew them on the panels in very light brushstrokes, delineating the contours over what was probably an initial pencil drawing. Afterwards, he specified the main volumes by applying very diluted pigments in a sort of wash over which he again established the profiles of the initial contours in darker colors. On a more superficial layer, he loaded the brush with more pigment to make some of the decorative motives. We cannot be certain that Joan Correa de Vivar faithfully met his deadlines for this altarpiece, nor do we know how much he was eventually paid for what is certainly one of his finest artworks and a very notable piece from the Spanish Renaissance. It does seem necessary, however, to recover the formal typology of this group, which was forever dismantled at the time of the Disentailment.

Ruiz Gómez, Leticia, El Retablo de la Anunciación de Juan Correa de Vivar. Boletín del Museo del Prado, 2004, p.6-21


Technical data

Inventory number
Correa de Vivar, Juan
Altarpiece of the Annunciation
Height: 225 cm; Width: 146 cm
Tríptico de estación, claustro monasterio jerónimo de Guisando (Ávila)
Jerónimos Monastery, Guisando (Ávila); Museo de la Trinidad.

Bibliography +

Gómez-Menor, J. M., Juan Correa de Vivar. Algunos datos documentales sobre su vida y su obra, ARCHIVO ESPAÑOL DE ARTE / ARCHIVO ESPAÑOL DE ARTE Y ARQUEOLOGIA, 39, 1966, pp. 297.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Mateo Gómez, Isabel, La huella de Rafael y Giulo Romano en la obra de Juan Correa de Vivar, Boletín del Museo del Prado, IV, 1983, pp. 104-110.

Rafael en España, Dirección General de Bellas Artes y Archivos, Madrid, 1985, pp. 81.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (II). Museo de la Trinidad, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1991, pp. nº837.

La monarquía hispánica: Felipe II, un monarca y su época, Sociedad Estatal para la Conmemoración de los Cent, Madrid, 1998, pp. 446.

Museo Nacional del Prado, El Greco y la pintura española del Renacimiento: guía, Museo del Prado, Aldeasa, Madrid, 2001.

Ruiz Gómez, Leticia, El Retablo de la Anunciación de Juan Correa de Vivar, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXII, 2004, pp. 6-21.

Ruiz Gómez, Leticia, El Greco en el Museo Nacional del Prado: catálogo razonado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2007, pp. 82.

Mateo Gómez, Isabel, Una inusual iconografía de San Pedro Mártir en una tabla de Juan Correa de Vivar., Archivo español de arte, Oc-Di, 2011, pp. 390-394.

Brown, Jonathan, In the shadow of Velázquez: a life in art history, Yale University Press, New Haven And London, 2014, pp. 71 f.36.

Marías, Fernando, Detalles e indicios en Juan Correa de Vivar : apertura de hipótesis, datos e incertidumbres, BSAA Boletín del Seminario de Estudios de Arte y Arqueología., LXXXIII, 2107, pp. 125-152 [126-127, 133-137 f.1].

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo de la Trinidad, 1865. Núm. 837.
CUADROS ANÓNIMOS DE LA ESCUELA VALENCIANA / 837. La Anunciación. / Tabla.-Al.2,22- An.1,445.-Fig.m.n. / Escuela de Juanes. / En una estancia del Renacimiento, junto á un lecho, está arrodillada la Santísima Virgen delante de un velador, sobre el cual se ve un libro de devocion con una estampa grabada en él. A la derecha de la Virgen aparece sobre una nube el Arcángel, llevando en la mano izquierda una cinta en la cual se leen las palabras de la salutacion. Sobre la Vírgen el Espíritu Santo rodeado de un nimbo, y en la parte superior del cuadro el Padre Eterno circundado de gloria y de ángeles.

Inv. Museo de la Trinidad, Pintura. Núm. 837.
837. / Tabla. La Anunciacion de nuestra Señora, en pri- / mer termino se ve un jarro con azucenas y en lo alto, / el padre eterno y el espiritu santo, / cuerpo entº y figª menor qe el natural / autor / rectifdo alto 2,22 ancho 1,43 [Nota al margen derecho] Sin embarrotar ni Rar; con moldura lisa dorada y / colgdo en [Nota al margen izquierdo] nº 163 / g.p.

Location +

Room 052C (On Display)


Displayed objects +

Flower Arrangement


Update date: 17-03-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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