Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 7656
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Tarr , Roger P.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Ecce Virgo Concipiet: The Iconography and Context of Duccio's London "Annunciation"
  • Source: Viator 31, ( 2000): Pages 185 - 213.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Art History- Painting Duccio di Boninsegno, Painter- Maesta- Annunciation of Christ's Birth Iconography Luke, Evangelist and Saint Mary, Virgin, Saint- Annunciation in Art Siena, Siena, Italy- Cathedral- Altarpiece- Maesta- Front Predella- Annunciation of
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 14
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations: Nineteen figures. Figure One Duccio, "Annunciation of the Birth of Christ" (London, National Gallery of Art)
  • Table:
  • Abstract: The iconograpny of the "Annunciation" now in London from Duccio's "Maestà" for Siena Cathedral shows striking differences from traditional depictions of the scene. On the one hand, the legible text from Isaiah on the book Mary holds points to her authoritative status as intermediary between the old dispensation and the new. On the other hand, her complex response to the advent of the archangel shown in her pose and gesture suggest her human frailty in the face of divine revelation. This article discusses these features to show that they set up themes of interpretation and emphasis, both theological and emotive, which are developed not only throughout the front predella, but also throughout the narrative cycles contained on the front and rear faces of the entire altarpiece. The main argument is that the tenor and meaning of the "Annunciation" itself and of the infancy scenes in the predella as a whole depend on the gospel narrative found in Luke, and that the sense of prescient meaning initiated in the events described there gave Duccio a lead in the thematic interpretation of some of the narratives in the rest of the altarpiece, particularly those dealing with Mary's later life and with Christ's own posthumous appearances. It is also suggested that, in the very personal prayer with which he signed the "Maestà" and in his portrayal of Mary which is both sympathetic and moving, Duccio had in mind the Byzantine tradition, alive at the time, of Luke as the exemplar for painters, especially in the depiction of Mary's form and person. [Reproduced by permission of the University of California Press].
  • Author's Affiliation: University of Edinburgh
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2000.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00835897
  • Material/Technique :
  • Rights: