Angel of the Annunciation thumbnail 1
Angel of the Annunciation thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 50b, The Paul and Jill Ruddock Gallery

This object consists of 2 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Angel of the Annunciation

Statue
ca. 1350-1368 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This statue would have formed an Annunciation group with a Virgin Mary. The Gabriel is very damaged and has lost his wings, halo and original paint. Like other wooden statuary of its time, it would have been brightly painted with different colors and had gilded hair. Restoration in 1959 revealed traces of the original paint pattern on the robe. The pattern would have been similar to those found on textile fragments from Lucca (a major silk weaving center from the thirteenth century) held in the V&A; such as the fragment numbered T66-1910.

The scene of the Annunciation, when Gabriel informed the Virgin Mary that she would give birth to the Christ Child, was very popular in Italy during the thirteenth century and was depicted in paint, in sculpture and in religious theatre. Wooden sculptures in particular were known to have been used in processions due to their lightness and portability.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Statue
  • Wings Removed From Angel of the Annunciation
Materials and Techniques
Wood with traces of polychrome; modern reddish-brown paint on undergown
Brief Description
Statue, wood, of the Angel Gabriel, attributed to Nino Pisano, Italy-Pisa, ca.1350-68
Physical Description
This wooden Angel Gabriel stands with his left hand to his chest, holding the end of his cloak. His head, at a slight angle to his body, would have faced a pendant Virgin Mary. The original wings have been lost. Until 1939 he was displayed with the nineteenth-century replacement wings. These were removed and are now held in storage. The appearance of the original wings is unclear, as almost all similar wooden Gabriel sculptures have lost their wings. They may have been large wooden pieces resembling birds' wings, if contemporary paintings depicting are indications. The original holes for the wings are visible at the back and reveal that this Gabriel, like other contemporary wooden sculpture was hollowed out.



The sculpture has been damaged by worm and excessive restoration. Much of the original polychrome has been lost, though traces of the pattern that once covered his cloak remain in the lower folds. The right hand, raised in a blessing gesture, is a later restoration, as are parts of the right shoulder. The crown of the head, which is heavily damaged by worm and has a much broader curl pattern than the lower half, is also likely to be a later addition to the sculpture. Contaminated wood was sometimes used by forgers in order to give the appearance of age to their work. (Newbery, Bisacca and Kanter, 103).

.
Dimensions
  • Height: 174.2cm
  • Width: 50cm
  • Depth: 58cm
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Style
Object history
The angel formed part of a group representing the Annunciation, but the Virgin has been lost. The angel is stylistically related to the marble Annunciation group by Nino Pisano in Santa Caterina, Pisa, which is signed and dated 1370, but there is no authenticated work by Nino in wood.

Like other wooden statuary of its time, it would have been brightly painted with different colors and had gilded hair. Restoration in 1959 revealed traces of the original paint pattern on the robe. The pattern would have been similar to those found on textile fragments from Lucca (a major silk weaving center from the thirteenth century) held in the V&A; such as the fragment numbered T66-1910.



Historical significance: The scene of the Annunciation, when Gabriel informed the Virgin Mary that she would give birth to the Christ Child, was very popular in Italy during the thirteenth century and was depicted in paint, in sculpture and in religious theatre. Wooden sculptures in particular were known to have been used in processions due to their lightness and portability.
Historical context
Nino was strained by his father, Andrea Pisano, whom he succeeded as Capomaestro of the cathedral at Orvieto in 1349.
Production
Pisa
Subjects depicted
Summary
This statue would have formed an Annunciation group with a Virgin Mary. The Gabriel is very damaged and has lost his wings, halo and original paint. Like other wooden statuary of its time, it would have been brightly painted with different colors and had gilded hair. Restoration in 1959 revealed traces of the original paint pattern on the robe. The pattern would have been similar to those found on textile fragments from Lucca (a major silk weaving center from the thirteenth century) held in the V&A; such as the fragment numbered T66-1910.



The scene of the Annunciation, when Gabriel informed the Virgin Mary that she would give birth to the Christ Child, was very popular in Italy during the thirteenth century and was depicted in paint, in sculpture and in religious theatre. Wooden sculptures in particular were known to have been used in processions due to their lightness and portability.
Bibliographic References
  • Carletti, L., Medieval wood sculpture and its setting in architecture : studies in some churches in and around Pisa, Architectural history, XLVI, 2003, pp. 37-56
  • Burresi, M. (ed.), Sacre Passioni: Scultura lignea a Pisa dal XII al XV secolo, (Milan, 2000) pp174, 178-81, figs. 16-18, 20
  • Spalletti, E., "Fortuna critica e collezionismo dell'antica scultura lignea italiana nel Settecento e nell'Ottocento: un avvio di ricerca," in Scultura Lignea: Lucca 1200-1425, C. Baracchini (ed.), p15
  • Burresi, M. (ed.), Andrea, Nino e Tommaso scultori pisani , (Milan, 1983), p190-191 Cat. no. 46, 190-191
  • Kreytenberg, G., Andrea Pisano und die toskanische Skulptur des14 Jahrhunderts, Munich: Bruckmann, 1984, pp.117-118, 142-143, fig.310, cat. Tommaso Pisano 41.
  • Newbery, T.., Bisacca, G. and Kanter, L.,Italian Renaissance Frames, exh.cat., MMA, June5-September 2, 1990, New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1990.
  • Davies, H. "John Charles Robinson's work at the South Kensington Museum Part 1: The creation of the colleciton of Italian Renaissance objects at the Museum of Ornamental Art and the South Kensington Musuem, 1853-62," in Journal of the History of Collections, 10, 2, 1998, pp. 169-88
  • Trusted, Marjorie, ed. The Making of Sculpture. The Materials and Techniques of European Sculpture. London: 2007, p. 131, pl. 240
  • Raggio, Olga. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Art Bulletin. Vol. L, 1968, p. 98
  • Pope-Hennessy, John. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Volume I: Text. Eighth to Fifteenth Century. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1964, pp. 38-40
  • Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1861 In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 35
  • Maclagan, Eric and Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture. Text. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1932, p. 8
Collection
Accession Number
7719:1-1861

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record createdAugust 23, 2006
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