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Botticelli “The Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala” at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence

Botticelli, Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala, Uffizi Gallery, Florence Italy
Annunciation of San Martino
Mural Frescoe (243 x 555 cm) 1481

Calm, serenity, dignity, recollection, this really great fresco called the Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala de Botticelli, is full of poetry and sweetness while being particularly powerful, imposing by its simplicity and purity that emanates from it.

The masses of the composition of this Annunciation with, on the one hand, the Angel Gabriel landing on the left and on the other hand, the Virgin, in her room on the far right, are perfectly balanced.

Botticelli, Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala, Uffizi Gallery, Florence Italy
Annunciation of San Martino
This visual treatment makes it possible to link the Angel to the Virgin in a powerful way, yet so far away from each other.

But this remoteness does not prevent them from responding, quite the contrary, they are here strongly linked to each other.

The heavenly rays that accompany Gabriel to his left turn into rays of divine words of which the longest of them arrive directly on Mary's face.

Words that we see, that we hear resonating under the vault of the Virgin's chamber.

She is there, humble, submissive, her head tilted, one hand on her chest and the other open.

Botticelli, Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala, Uffizi Gallery, Florence Italy
Annunciation of San Martino
She receives this divine message, she agrees to be the one that gives birth to the son of God, as in the prophecy of Isaiah (7,14) which she was reading in the Bible open on her lectern, Isaiah who prophesies that a young girl will give birth to a son.

All her humility, her acceptance, is amplified by the calm and orderly folds of her clothes that show her leaning forward before the envoy of God.

The Angel Gabriel is also in a position of humility, he dominates, certainly, he is the divine messenger, but his attitude, his hands crossed on his chest, his legs slightly bent, his feet united, his calm and serene face, the softness that emanates from him adds to the feeling of recollection, to the importance of the moment of the event that transcends them both of them.

Botticelli, Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala, Uffizi Gallery, Florence Italy
Annunciation San Martino
At this moment, Gabriel has just arrived, divine words spread through the air while he is still suspended in his flight, his feet do not touch the ground yet, his clothes are still inflated with air, his wings are still vibrant, the branch of lilies bent by his flight.

And yet it seems so calm, so light, the time of the earthly world has stopped, we entered into the divine, into the mystery of faith.

The depth of the feeling that emerges from this Annunciation makes it one of Botticelli's most beautiful works, one of the most powerful works.

Pictorially speaking, the folds of the clothes of Angel Gabriel remind those of the Zephyr wind in the painting of the “Birth of Venus”.

Historically, this fresco, now detached from the wall where it was originally located, was created by Botticelli between April and May 1481 to decorate the wall of Cione Pollini's tomb.

Botticelli, Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala, Uffizi Gallery, Florence Italy
Annunciation San Martino
Cione di Lapo de' Pollini, under the control of the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena, had a hospital built in Florence in 1313.

Which hospital took the name Santa Maria della Scala, the same as Siena.

In 1479, many sick victims of the plague epidemic, which fell hard that year on the Florentines were treated.

Botticelli's house and workshop were very close to this hospital, located at the corner of via della Scala and via degli Oricellari, and it is therefore very naturally that he was entrusted with painting this Annunciation.

In 1529, the monastery of San Martino was razed because it was located in a place where the perimeter wall was to pass that Florence, then besieged, was building to protect itself.

The nuns of the Monastery of San Martino were then allowed to take refuge in the Santa Maria della Scala Hospital.

Botticelli, Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala, Uffizi Gallery, Florence Italy
Annunciation of San Martino
In 1531 they were donated buildings to make them their new monastery, provided that all the paintings and inscriptions contained therein were left unused.

This condition was a major obstacle to the construction of the church they wanted to erect there.

It was not until 1623 that a compromise was reached to allow the creation of the church of San Martino. In fact, an atrium loggia was built in front of the church, which partly hid Botticelli's fresco.

Opened to winds and humidity, the weather could destroy this Annunciation, the fresco was detached from its wall in 1920.

It was restored in 1952 and then exposed to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence where you can admire it today.

Botticelli Spring | Venus | Pallas | Calumny | Judith | Young Man | Magi Novella | Magi (1500) | Annunciation | Annunciation Martino |
Artists Botticelli |
Uffizi Artists | Location | Schedule Tickets | Authorizations



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