Sandro Botticelli, San Barnaba Annunciation

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Sandro Botticelli

San Barnaba Annunciation (1487-90)

Painted between 1487-90, the Annunciation for the San Barnaba altar was Botticelli’s final rendering of the subject. The angel Gabriel appears from the left to inform the Virgin Mary that she will bear the Christ child. Botticelli strategically altered the perpendiculars of the architecture to enhance the narrative of the scene. The central column leans slightly to the left towards the angel Gabriel, emphasizing the importance of his arrival. The orthogonal lines from the floor and architecture lead the viewer’s eye first to Gabriel, then towards the landscape in the background. 

Mary arches in response to Gabriel’s gesture, likely resulting from both fear and humility. A glow of light follows Gabriel into the space and extends towards Mary’s face. 


Legouix, Susan. Botticelli. London: Chaucer Press, 2004. pg. 104.

Musée Luxembourg. Botticelli: From Lorenzo the Magnificent to Savonarola. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2003. pg. 48.