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Leonardo Da Vinci Annunciation 1472-75 circa Tempera on wood cm 98x217 Inv 1890 n 1618 The work came to the Uffizi in 1867 from the monastery of San Bartolomeo of Monteoliveto near Florence It was ascribed to Domenico Ghirlandaio until 1869 when some critics recognised it as a youthful work by Leonardo executed around 1472-1475 when he was still an apprentice in the workshop of his master Andrea del Verrocchio The sacred scene is set in the garden of a Florentine palace with a landscape on the background which is already peculiarly influenced by Leonardo for the magic and unreal atmosphere created by mountains water and sky Leonardos personality is pointed out also in the beautiful drapery of the Virgin and the Angel while the marble table in front of her probably quotes the tomb of Piero and Giovanni dei Medici in the church of San Lorenzo sculpted by Verrocchio in this period This much discussed painting was originally attributed to Ghirlandaio but a group of influential nineteenth century scholars recognised the hand of the young Da Vinci on the basis of some newly discovered preparatory sketches of the two figures As for interpretation the relatively large distance that separates the Virgin and the heralding Angel might give the impression of two different parts as if the artist wanted to paint two separate scenes Unity is demonstrated however by the intersecting gaze of the two protagonists and by the light which partially touches on the divine Messenger and comes to rest full on the face of the Virgin Da Vinci maintained that an artist should act as a mirror to reflect things but in order to represent them well he should use reason and should analyse every detail from a scientific point of view as a scrupulous observer This can be seen in the meadow covered with flowers each depicted in minute detail in the trees in the backgroun d behind the
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