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The Annunciation

Relief sculpture of angel confronting Virgin Mary. Cherubs and dove in sky.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Relief sculpture of angel confronting Virgin Mary. Cherubs and dove in sky.


c. 1583


Alessandro Vittoria
Italian, 1525—1608

About this artwork

Alessandro Vittoria translated into bronze the flickering light of Venetian Renaissance paintings. Working in wax (from which the finished bronze was then cast), he manipulated this relief’s form and edges to catch the light. The result is a highly animated surface in which everything—figures, drapery, clouds, and sky—seems to move with excitement, heightening the drama between the startled Virgin Mary and the archangel Gabriel, who has descended from heaven to announce that Mary will bear the son of God. Fully sculpted in the round, the archangel’s arm points to the smallest feature in the scene: a dove, representing the Holy Spirit of the Christian Trinity.

This sculpture was commissioned by Hans Fugger, a member of a prominent Augsburg banking family, to decorate an altarpiece for the chapel of his family’s castle in Kirchheim in the Swabia region of Germany.


On View, Gallery 206


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Alessandro Vittoria


The Annunciation


Italy (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.





97.8 × 61.6 cm (38 1/2 × 24 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Edward E. Ayer Endowment in memory of Charles L. Hutchinson

Reference Number


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