“Blessed”, Juan Pantoha de la Cruz – overview of the painting

“Blessed”, Juan Pantoha de la Cruz – overview of the painting
"Blessed", Juan Pantoha de la Cruz - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Juan Pantoha de la Cruz
  • Museum: Prado Museum
  • Year: 1603

Overview of the painting :

Annunciation – Juan Pantoha de la Cruz. 1603. Oil on canvas. 227 x 142 cm.

   The picture of the classical biblical theme has a strict composition and a rich coloristic solution. Virgin Mary receives a message from heaven transmitted to her by the archangel Gabriel. According to legend, at that moment she read the book of the prophet Isaiah. The artist here did not depart from tradition – the Virgin Mary sits on a small elevation, facing the audience, at the music table covered with red fabric. It reveals a big book. Maria has a pink-grown tunic and a cloak with large draped folds, saturated with blue-green. She is shocked by the appearance of an angel, but she submits to the will of the Lord, as her characteristic gesture speaks of – one hand raised up and the second, pressed to her chest, swears an oath to God. Her bashful and humbly dull eyes and all the appearance express humility.

   The angel is depicted almost in profile, as was often done on canvases in the Middle Ages and in subsequent centuries. On it are rich clothes abundantly embroidered with gold. The artist very carefully conveyed all the smallest details, from the small folds of his shirt at the cuffs to the luxurious pattern of fabric, magnificent draperies of green silk. On the angel’s head is a golden curly crown, and his wings are very naturalistically covered with feathers. He knelt before Our Lady and extended his hands to her in a soothing gesture. The angel is barefoot and very young – he has an expressive face and big dark eyes.

   The image of Gabriel and Mary is the lower part of the composition of the picture, the earthly, and the upper part is the heavens represented by soaring angels in the clouds. This upper part consists of three components. In the central element in the distance is God the Father, blessing the scene below. Under it, in the rays of divine radiance, the Holy Spirit descends from heaven to earth in the form of a snow-white dove. From all sides, this scene is surrounded by angels in different positions, expressing joy and pleasure.