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Embroidery with the Annunciation

Date:
mid-15th century
Culture:
Netherlandish
Medium:
Silk and metallic threads on linen
Dimensions:
8 1/4 x 3 3/4 in. (21 x 9.5 cm)
Classification:
Textiles-Embroidered
Credit Line:
Gift of Lois and Anthony Blumka, in memory of Victoria Blumka, 1990
Accession Number:
1990.330
  • Description

    In a domestic interior, the Virgin Mary kneels before a prie-dieu on which her prayer book rests. The archangel Gabriel, at the left, greets her with the Gospel announcement of the forthcoming birth of Jesus: "Ave Maria gratia plena dominus tecum" ("Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee," Luke 1:28).

    This embroidery, originally part of an orphrey (a decorative band on a priestly vestment) or an altar frontal, is virtually intact. The selvages at left and right are preserved, and the top and bottom have been trimmed only slightly. In its present form, with the scene almost complete and its shimmering silks still remarkably vibrant, it can be appreciated in much the same way as a Netherlandish panel painting—a medium with which it shares many compositional and iconographic aspects. The embroidery typifies the celebrated Netherlandish or "nué" technique, in which gold is used not only to provide glitter but also to add to the rich three-dimensional quality of the pictorial surface—an effect to which the textile medium naturally lends itself.

    Please note that this object is seen on a rotating basis, due to conservation requirements.

  • Provenance

    Ulmann , Hamburg ; [ Sotheby's, London (December 7, 1989, lot 266)] ; [ Blumka II Gallery , New York (sold 1990)]

  • See also
    What
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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
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