The Annunciation

The canvas owned by the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is a smaller version of the Annunciation that El Greco painted for the altarpiece of the Colegio de Doña María de Aragón in Madrid, now held at the Museo del Prado. Of the many works that El Greco painted on this theme throughout his career, this is considered the most lyrical. All references to physical space have been removed from this composition, and the entire scene is surrounded by a surreal atmosphere. The angel appears amid the clouds and draws near to Mary, who receives him with all due humility by her lectern. Both figures seem to be immersed in the clouds that open behind them to reveal the light of heaven, crowned by a group of musical angels with attributes of Mary arranged along the bottom. The work is characterised by its vibrant palette and the contrasts of light and shadow which manage to create a setting that is at once spiritual and theatrical.

Mª Eugenia Alonso

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