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The Annunciation

Paolo de Matteis, Italian, 1662–1728
Oil on canvas
Place made
Naples, Italy
Current Location
On View, Gallery 204
81 1/8 x 70 1/8 in. (206.1 x 178.1 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
In this scene from the biblical New Testament, the archangel Gabriel arrives bearing news that the Virgin Mary will bear a child, the infant Jesus. The clouds beneath the messenger, his accompaniment of winged cherubs, and a golden glow, make it clear that he is divine. A dove in the golden aura near the top of the canvas symbolizes God sending the child into Mary’s womb. The artist used soft colors and delicate forms to evoke a sense of poetic ideal.
1712 -
Aurora Sanseverino, Duchess of Laurenzano (1667-1726), Naples, Italy, commissioned from the artist [1]

Prince Henry of Bourbon-Parma, Count of Bardi (1851-1905), Parma, Italy; Menton, France

In sale of the collection of Prince Henry of Bourbon-Parma, E. Hirschler and Company, Vienna, Austria, April 2, 1906, lot no. 68 [2]

- 1973
Heim Gallery, London, England

1973 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Heim Gallery [3]

[1] According to the artist's biographer, Bernardo de' Dominici ("Vite de' Pittori, Scultori e Architetti Napoletani," Naples, III, pp. 535-36), Sanseverino commissioned two paintings, an "Annunciation" and an "Adoration of the Shepherds." The "Adoration" is in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, also signed and dated 1712. De' Dominici wrote "As were also so praised the two paintings which he painted for the duchess of Laurenzano of glorious memory: in one of them he represented the Annunciate, and in the other the Birth of Christ, both painted with amenity, and with noble colors;..."

[2] See the auction catalog ["Katalog einer aussergewöhnlich wertvollen und reichhaltigen, Gemälde- und Kunstsammlung aus ehemaligem Besitze, Prinz Heinrich von Bourbon, Graf von Bardi." E. Hirschler and Co., Vienna, Austria, April 2, 1906, lot no. 68, p. 12.]

[3] Invoice from Heim Gallery, dated July 30, 1973 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Acquisitions Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, July 23 1973.
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