Object Image

The Annunciation, with Saint Emidius

The Archangel Gabriel descends from God to tell the Virgin that she is to bear a child - a moment known as the Annunciation - but has been distracted from his mission by a bishop saint, who has stopped him in the street of a Renaissance town. This is Saint Emidius, patron saint of the town of Ascoli Piceno in the Italian Marches. This painting is unique in showing a local saint effectively intervening in a biblical event.

Ascoli was ruled by the pope but was granted a degree of self-government in 1482. The news arrived on 25 March, the feast of the Annunciation. From this time onward this feast was celebrated with a great procession to the convent of the Observant Friars, for whom this altarpi...

Egg and oil on canvas
207.0 x 146.7cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2023

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