Study for The Annunciation

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Study for The Annunciation about 1580
Within Palma’s oeuvre, this drawing is unusually highly finished and precisely executed. The delicate pen-strokes and light washes used to build up the flowing draperies are reminiscent of the work he produced during his early period in Rome. Compositionally this drawing corresponds closely, but in reverse, to a large Annunciation that Palma painted between 1581-2 for the church of the Jesuit fathers in Venice (now destroyed). Here, Palma fused two different stages in the story. The Virgin Mary gestures with her right hand in a moment of hesitation as she questions the angel Gabriel as to how she shall bear the Son of God. Simultaneously, the dove of the Holy Spirit descends upon her, as Gabriel had answered that the Spirit would be the means of her divine conception.

Glossary Open


The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.


French term which is used to refer to an artist's total body of work.


A transparent layer of diluted ink or watercolour.

Composition, Oeuvre, Wash


  • Acc. No. D 2917
  • Medium Pen, brown ink and wash on paper
  • Size 17.40 x 24.60 cm
  • Credit William Findlay Watson Bequest 1881