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Annunciation with Saint Emidius

Carlo Crivelli

Annunciation with Saint Emidius

Carlo Crivelli
  • Date: 1486
  • Style: Early Renaissance
  • Genre: religious painting
  • Media: oil, panel, tempera
  • Tag: Christianity, saints-and-apostles, Virgin-and-Child, Annunciation, angels-and-archangels
  • Dimensions: 146.7 x 207 cm
  • Order Oil Painting

The Annunciation, with Saint Emidius is an altarpiece by Italian artist Carlo Crivelli showing an artistic adaptation of the Annunciation. The altarpiece was painted for the Church of SS. Annunziata in the Italian town of Ascoli Piceno to celebrate the self-government granted to the town in 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV. The painting is housed in the National Gallery of London since 1864 when it was donated there by Lord Taunton.

The light ray from the heaven represents Mary's impregnation by the Holy Spirit. The closed passage into the depth at the left and the flask of pure water in Mary's bedroom conventionally refer to Mary's virginity. The winged angel Gabriel is depicted with Saint Emidius, the patron saint of Ascoli Piceno carrying a model of that town. The apple in the foreground represents the forbidden fruit and associated fall of man. The cucumber symbolizes the promise of resurrection and redemption. The peacock symbolizes associated immortality, because it was believed that its flesh never decayed. A carpet adorns the loggia on the first floor of the Mary's house.

The bottom portion of the painting features the coats of arms of Pope Sixtus IV and the local bishop, Prospero Caffarelli. The Latin words libertas ecclesiastica (church liberty) refer to the self-government of Ascoli Piceno under the general oversight of the Catholic Church. In fringe theories, the halo of the Holy Spirit on the painting is sometimes interpreted as an UFO.

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