Angel of the Annunciation
Italian; Sienese, Angel of the Annunciation, ca. 1350, Painted wood; Height: 152.4 cm (60 inches), Museum Appropriation Fund 37.114
According to Christian belief, the Archangel Gabriel was sent to earth to announce to Mary that she would become the Mother of Christ. This sculpture represents Gabriel in the role of the Annunciate Angel whose intense gaze reflects the gravity of his message. It was created as one of a pair of figures; its counterpart, a standing figure of the Virgin Mary, would have been placed in close proximity in a church or chapel in order to demonstrate their engagement in a sacred conversation. The columnar figure was originally adorned with wings, attached behind the shoulders and probably made of leather. The Angel’s arms are missing, but it is likely that the right hand would have been raised to signal the delivery of the heavenly pronouncement.