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The Annunciation
Rizi, Francisco
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Rizi, Francisco

Madrid, 1614 - San Lorenzo de El Escorial, 1685

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The Annunciation

Ca. 1663. Oil on canvas.
Room 017A

This painting presents the moment when the Archangel Gabriel, holding a spray of lilies, appears to the Virgin Mary and announces that she will give birth to the Son of God. Mary is depicted kneeling at prayer before an open book resting on a table, at the foot of which sits a sewing basket that alludes to the domestic seclusion in which she lived. The Annunciation proved to be one of the most popular scenes among Christian artists beginning in the Gothic period, for it refers to one of the most important mysteries in the story of the Redemption. Its prominence, however, is not only owing to its religious significance, for it also allowed artists to construct scenes full of charming intimacy.

Francisco Rizi -an artist who took Baroque painting in Madrid to the highest degree of dynamism and lavishness of colour- took advantage of the expressive possibilities of the Annunciation to compose one of the most interesting and accomplished paintings in his oeuvre. Rather than situating the scene in a domestic interior, as had been habitual in Gothic and Renaissance depictions, Rizi creates an ambiguous setting -as much indoors as it is outdoors- allowing him to fill the painting with light. The presence of the sewing basket and the table with the book, along with the closeness of the Virgin and the angel, implies a moment of intimacy and mystery. Despite its small dimensions, this painting is a masterpiece for the way it possesses a general unity to which the efficacious use of colour and the brushstrokes contribute significantly. The angel emerges from the right, atop a cloud, an action that is immediately reflected in Mary´s pose, as she looks modestly toward the floor and joins her hands across her breast in a gesture of devout submission. The impetus and dynamism of the angel is transformed into Mary´s calmness and acceptance, a contrast also reflected in the play of colours: the red and blue of Mary´s clothing provides the necessary counter-weight for the green, ivory, gold and carmine tones of Gabriel´s dress. The combination of all these elements in an image that is extraordinarily self-contained creates a moving, though restrained, narrative effect. The play of story, illusion, reality, apparition and miracle is underscored by the little angel who, in the upper left-hand corner, pulls back a curtain, as if to reveal the scene. The sources for this type of painting are numerous. The shadow of sixteenth-century Venetian artists and seventeenth-century Flemish artists was always hovering over the painters working in Madrid in the second half of the seventeenth century. In such works there are also traces of the influence of artists such as Alonso Cano, seen here in the little angel drawing the curtain. With these models as a point of departure, Rizi creates his own unique style by freeing colour from the corset of drawing, audaciously expanding the range of his palette and giving a prominent role to the brushwork itself. His execution, for example, of the folds in Gabriel and Mary´s robes is astonishing: they are assembled from swift, thick brushstrokes that go beyond merely communicating chromatic or structural information, and formally contribute to the composition´s sense of dynamism.

The painting was originally surmounted by a segmental arch (shallower than a semicircle), which led some to speculate that it once formed the apex of an altarpiece. Pérez Sánchez stressed its stylistic similarities with works by Rizi that were part of a Nativity altarpiece in the former convent of Los Ángeles, Madrid. Two of these works are now in the Prado: The Adoration of the Magi 1668 (P1129); and The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple c.1665 (P1130). Another work, Ecce Homo, is in the collection of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid. Pérez Sánchez´s theory has recently been confirmed in documentary sources. All of these paintings are characteristic of Francisco Rizi´s style from the 1660s (Portús, J.: Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado, Queensland Art Gallery-Art Exhibitions Australia, 2012, p. 152).

Technical data

Related artworks

Inventory number
Rizi, Francisco
The Annunciation
Ca. 1663
Height: 112 cm; Width: 96 cm
Retablo de La Natividad, Convento de los Ángeles, Madrid
Madrid, Convento de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, 1835; Museo de la Trinidad, 1835-1872.

Bibliography +

Cruzada Villaamil, Gregorio, Catálogo provisional, historial y razonado del Museo Nacional de Pinturas, Madrid, 1865, pp. 94.

Mayer, A. L., Historia de la pintura española, Madrid, 1947, pp. 470.

Ángulo Íñiguez, D., Francisco Rizi, cuadros religiosos posteriores a 1670 y sin fechar., Archivo español de arte, 1962, pp. 106.

Exposicion de Arte Español, Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Tokio, 1970.

Ars hispaniae: historia universal del arte hispánico, XV, Plus Ultra, Madrid, 1971, pp. 233.

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

D. Antonio de Pereda (1611-1678) y la pintura madrileña de su tiempo, Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General del Patrimonio, Madrid, 1978.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Panorama de la pintura española desde los Reyes Católicos a, Servicio de Publicaciones del Instituto de Coopera, Madrid, 1980, pp. 84.

Pita Andrade, José Manuel, Ob el Grieka Ob Goje, Narodni Muzei, Belgrado, 1981, pp. 100.

Prinz Von Hohenzollern, J.G., Von Greco Bis Goya. Vier Jahrhunderte Spanische Malerei, Haus Der Kunst, Munich, 1982, pp. 252.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 563.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Carreño, Rizi, Herrera y la pintura madrileña de su tiempo, Ministerio de Cultura. Banco Herrero, Madrid, 1986, pp. 255.

Pérez Sánchez, A. E., ''Los pintores escenógrafos en el Madrid del siglo XVII'' En: La escenografía del teatro Barroco., Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, 1989, pp. 74/lám. 5.

Spinosa, Nicola, Napols i el Barroc Mediterrani, Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, Barcelona, 1990, pp. 145.

Spinosa, Nicola, Napols i el Barroc Mediterrani. La Pintura Mediterrania de 1, Generalitat Valenciana, Valencia, 1990.

Ayala Mallory, Nina, Del Greco a Murillo: la pintura española del Siglo de Oro, 1, Alianza, Madrid, 1991, pp. 179/lám. 155.

Urrea, Jesús, La Pittura Madrilena del Secolo XVII, Edizioni Carte Segrete, Roma, 1991, pp. 118.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas (II). Museo de la Trinidad, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1991.

Calderón de la Barca y la España del Barroco, Sociedad Estatal España Nuevo Milenio, Madrid, 2000, pp. 248.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura barroca española: guía, Museo Nacional del PradoAldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 232.

Gómez Nebreda, María Luisa, Las pinturas del convento franciscano de los Ángeles de Madrid que pasaron al Museo de la Trinidad. Contribución al catálogo del ''Prado Disperso'', Boletin del Museo del Prado, XX, 2002, pp. 43.

Obras Maestras del Museo del Prado, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Tokyo, 2002.

Portús Pérez, Javier, La colección de pintura española en el Museo del Prado, Edilupa, Madrid, 2003, pp. 150.

Museo Nacional del Prado, El Museo de la Trinidad en el Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2004, pp. 130 / 18.

López Fanjul, M.; Pérez Preciado, J.J, Los números y marcas de colección en los cuadros del Museo del Prado, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XXIII, 2005, pp. 84-110.

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from The Prado, Queensland Art Gallery, 2012, pp. 152-153, nº37.

Cruz Yábar, Juan María, Los cuadros de Ribera de don Jerónimo de la Torre y su capilla funeraria en el convento de los Àngeles de Madrid., Goya, 349 oct-dic., 2014, pp. 290-307 [295].

de Mingo Lorente, Adolfo, Otro centenario de artistas en 2014. Obra toledana de Francisco Ruiz (1614-1685) y de Juan Carreño de Miranda (1614-1685), Archivo secreto, n.6, 2015, pp. 231-247 [236].

Other inventories +

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1910. Núm. 1128.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1942-1996. Núm. 1128.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 2175.

Catálogo Museo de la Trinidad, 1865. Núm. 353.
ESCUELA MADRILEÑA [...] D. FRANCISCO RIZI [...] 353. La Anunciacion. / Lienzo. - Al. 1,125. - An. 0,965. - Fig. 0,80. / A la derecha del espectador la Vírgen de rodillas delante de un reclinatorio; a la izquierda el Angel arrodillado sobre unas nubes, con una azucena en la mano.

Inv. Museo de la Trinidad, Pintura. Núm. 353.
353. / La anunciación de ntra. Señora á la dra. del espectador esta el angel presentando la azucena de menos de avara y cuerpo entero. / Autor Franco Ricci / Rectifdo 1,12 1/2 ancho 0,96 / Id, id, id. / nº 36 / S.S.

Exhibitions +

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
16.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Houston TX
15.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
22.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Brisbane, Australia
21.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

Museo de la Trinidad
19.07.2004 - 03.10.2004

Obras Maestras del Museo del Prado - Tokio
05.03.2002 - 23.06.2002

Calderón de la Barca y la España del Barroco
15.06.2000 - 15.01.2001

Pintura madrileña del Siglo XVII
10.12.1991 - 31.01.1992

Nápoles y el Barroco Mediterráneo
18.04.1990 - 03.06.1990

Nápoles y el Barroco Mediterráneo
14.02.1990 - 30.03.1990

Location +

Room 017A (On Display)

Update date: 26-05-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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