The Annunciation

Artist: Attributed to Petrus Christus (Netherlandish, Baarle-Hertog (Baerle-Duc), active by 1444–died 1475/76 Bruges)

Date: ca. 1450

Medium: Oil on wood

Dimensions: Overall 31 x 25 7/8 in. (78.7 x 65.7 cm); painted surface 30 1/2 x 25 1/4 in. (77.5 x 64.1 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931

Accession Number: 32.100.35


This Annunciation is exceptional for its bird’s-eye view and outdoor setting. Sheltered in the doorway of a church and greeted by Gabriel, Mary is presented not only as the Annunciate, but also as the personification of the church (ecclesia). The architecture, which is part Romanesque (right) and part Gothic (left), refers to the coming of Christ by marking the transition from Judaism to Christianity. Technical evidence, the lack of a horizon, and the oblique angle of the architecture all suggest that the panel is a fragment from a larger composition. Formerly ascribed to Van Eyck, it is probably by Petrus Christus.