Pedro Bello, The St. Catherine Altarpice: Detail, The Annunciation


1503
Paint on canvas
Chapter Room, The Old Cathedral, Salamanca, Spain

These are the upper panels on the two doors that close the altarpiece. The lower panels feature Isaiah and King David with phrases of theirs taken to prophesy the birth of Christ.

This is the kind of Annunciation, popular from the late medieval onward, in which the angel finds Mary engaged in prayer and study of the scriptures. In some examples she stands at a book-stand, as here; more often she kneels at a prie-dieu.

The scrolls bear the words of the angel (Luke 1:28) and Mary (Luke 1:38). The flower pot is perhaps the most ancient feature of Annunciations. The tiled floor became popular in paintings of this type in the previous century, when the technique of linear perspective was developed.

View the lower panels of the altarpiece doors.
More of The Annunciation

Photographed at the cathedral by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.