Annunciation 1472-74

Once thought to be the work of Domenico Ghirlandaio, this painting is now generally agreed to be an early work by Leonardo, painted sometime between 1472 and 1474. The painting was originally housed in the Convent of Monte Oliveto outside Florence and is probably an altarpiece, although the identity of the patron is unknown.

The work illustrates the influence of Verrocchio on the young Leonardo, in the sculptural quality of the figures and their draperies, and the forms of the Virgin’s reading table, which call to mind Verrocchio’s tomb for Piero de’ Medici, completed in 1472. The architecture seen on the right, in front of which the Virgin is seated, reflects the conventions of linear perspective probably learnt by Leonardo in Verrocchio’s workshop. The blurred, hazy outlines of the features of the landscape background give the impression of great distance, heralding the artist’s development of aerial perspective in the replication of atmospheric effects and the effects of natural light.


Leonardo’s profound interest in naturalistic detail is apparent in virtually every element of this painting, including the landscape, the numerous plants and trees, and the figures, all of which the artist studied first hand from life.

  • Medium Tempera on panel
  • Size 16 x 60 cm
  • Location Galleria degli Uffizi

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