Crivelli Annunciation

Crivelli Annunciation
Crivelli Annunciation

One of the great achievements of Italian Renaissance painting was the studies and materialization to capture perspective. Especially throughout the fifteenth century, called Quattrocento, when a group of artists promoted the representation of depth in space, thereby seeking the sensation of three dimensions on the two-dimensional surface of their canvases and boards.

Crivelli's Annunciation

Crivelli Annunciation

Of course there were artists who became true experts in this field and acted as pioneers for the painters who would come later. In this sense, one of the great perspectivists of this artistic moment was Piero della Francesca, who, with works such as View of the Ideal City, became a benchmark in this field. And it was a subject of study that was not limited to painting alone, in fact the merit of having defined a graphic system to capture the geometry of space is attributed to the architect and sculptor Filippo Brunelleschi.

Before these Renaissance characters, Medieval artists had depicted in their paintings the space surrounding their figures in a completely intuitive way. Or they just didn't care at all, since they usually dedicated themselves to representing religious themes, with scenes in which the earthly dimension was of no interest.

InOn the other hand, the humanist spirit of the Renaissance, especially and initially in Italy, meant that even sacred themes were tried to be set in as realistic a setting as possible. For this, they mainly used the central perspective that allowed them to create compositions where everything was governed by symmetries. However, little by little, the experimentation in this type of perspective representations led them to go somewhat out of the most harmonic forms and excesses were committed. An example is this work of the Annunciation by the painter Carlo Crivelli (1430 – 1493) which is currently part of the collection of the National Gallery London.

Here each and every one of the objects and characters that appear in the image are drawn in perspective. It is a strongly foreshortened representation, based on a central axis that marks the corner of the building that clearly separates one half (the right) inside the building and the other outside. And besides, everything starts from a close-up completely parallel to the viewer who contemplates the work.

It is a painting that could only be classified as Renaissance because of the ornate study of perspective that it poses and also because of the classical-style architecture that appears. Other than that it also has certain elements reminiscent of medieval painting.

For example, in the upper left area we see the place from which the divine ray starts, obliquely reaching Mary to announce that she will give birth to the Son of God. Ythis, despite the fact that the announcing Archangel can be seen, who has descended from heaven and has taken human form. The many religious symbols that appear scattered around the scene are also of medieval origin. In short, this would be a Renaissance work of the second line, but important to see how painting was evolving at the time.

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