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The Annunciation : Leonardo's Rare Finished Artwork

The Annunciation : Leonardo's Rare Finished Artwork

The Annunciation is a very rare finished oil painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. Though most of the work done by the maste painter is unfinished, the Annunciation got a better luck. Leonardo completed it at 1472, near the end of Early Renaissance. It was rectangular in size, 222 cm x 90 cm, a pretty big artwork. The painting is now in the Uffizi gallery, Florence. The Annunciation depicts the story of the Virgin Mary announced to be a God-mother by the Archangel Gabriel. It also tells the story of the announcement of God Child in the womb of Virgin Mary.

the annunciation by leonardo da vinci
Leonardo da Vinci, The Annunciation (detail), 1472-75
Oil and tempera on wood
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

At the left side of the painting, the Angel Gabriel is knelt down in front of Mary. The wings of the angel are still opened as a stunning beauty, dress is expensive and the draperies are curvy and well-drawn. The Angle holds a bunch of white lily as a symbol of purity. The Archangel is greeting, kneeling down on the carpet like grass, and his shadow is in front of both. On the contrary, Virgin Mary is sitting in front of a nicely designed architecture. Both of the hands of the Virgin are spreading. Her right hand is in front of a lectern. She was reading a book and still pressing her right fingertoe on the book pages. Her face is enlightened and the light is coming from the far meadow. She is bit surprised, but welcoming the Angel with her right hand. Probably, her surprised and half welcoming gesture and facial expression says she has to do nothing against God’s will. The blue drapery of the gown is exquisite and depicts her modesty. Both of the Angel and the Virgin got halo over their head as a symbol of divinity.

The artwork describes a warm and beautiful day. In the background there are a lot of details to describe. Lights are coming from the far meadow in a very sunny day. There are trees are behind them and there is a lakeside town by the shores of the silver waters. Maritime ships and boats are browsing into the water. At the far most corner, the distant mountains look pale gray with clouds in the sky. The vanishing point is in the far mountains. The sfumato technique is very clear to make the painting realistic. The top right corner is Mary’s glowing face with the green background and the bottom right is Mary’s drapery contrasts with the white floor along with the table makes the painting more meaningful.

The decoration of the lower part of the lectern is embellished by flowers with surrounding leafs. The grass carpet beneath the angel is black where

The Annunciation by Loenardo da Vinci
The Annunciation- detail of the Virgin

different colorful flower blossoms. The chiaroscuro in front of the angel makes the painting more realistic. The whole painting is drawn as the viewer’s eye touches everywhere and everything. This is Leonardo’s compositional beauty.



1. Adams, Laurie Schneider. A History of Western Art. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011.

2. Callen Bell, Janis. “Chiaroscuro.” Oxford Art Online. Grove Art Online (2003) < https>

3. proxy.library.adelaide.edu.au/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T016397> (4 April


4. D’Alleva Anne. The Fundamentals of Art History. Boston: Prentice Hall 2010.

5. Hall, James. Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art. Boulder: Westview Press, 2008.

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Viewer’s Comments 3

David Richard 26Feb 2021

Descriptive writing. But one thing is not clear why it is the rarest painting by Leonardo?

Sal Khan 26Feb 2021

Thanks David. Maximum of Leonardo's artwork is not finished. I can't answer you directly, because only God knows it!

Mustafa Ahmed Khan 10Mar 2021

Great share.