Virgin Annunciate (c. 1476). Antonello da Messina (ca. 1430–1479). Palazzo Abatellis, Palermo.
The first to use oil paints in Italy, Antonello was one of the most influential painters of the quattrocento.
The Virgin Annunciate shows a masterly orchestration of light sources, generating an interplay of backlight. Antonello condenses the sacred event into the single pensive and realistic figure of the Virgin, a haunting image of the adolescent Mary when the angel Gabriel announces to her that she will bear God’s Son. The modest Sicilian female, attired in a simple blue mantle, is aloof and mysterious.