The Annunciation: A Painting by Francisco de Zurbaran.
Works of art can best be appreciated when the elements of design, the principles of design, and the iconography of the work are observed and understood. The Annunciation, a painting by the Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbaran, is a work of art that incorporates both the elements and principles of design. The iconography of the painting is of great importance as well as its aesthetic quality.
The ability to create a picture of The Annunciation in one's mind is a key factor in understanding the analysis of the work. Francisco de Zurbaran approaches the painting with a naturalistic style. The painting features a room in which a woman - like angel is seen at the left kneeling on the ground before the Virgin Mary. The figure of Mary is placed between a chair and a small wooden table draped with a green cloth. Mary disregards an open Bible on the table, as she appears solemn while staring at the floor. Floating above the two main figures in the upper left side of the painting are cherubs resting on a bed of clouds. They happily gaze down at Mary with eyes from Heaven.
The Annunciation uses elements of design to create a visually pleasing picture. The visual elements consist of light, color, texture, shape, and line. The use of light is one of the most evident elements in this painting. The source of light is not directly visible in the painting, but appears as a radiant angelic host floating above the two main figures. Light emphasizes the fair skin of the Angel and Mary as they both look down towards a shadowy floor. Light also reflects the open Bible on the table suggesting emphasis on the holiness of Mary. The rest of the room remains eerily dark and dull.
Color is used to draw attention to important characters and objects in the painting. The red of Mary's shirt emphasizes her place as the main figure. A bright, yellow cloud floating above the room symbolizes the joy of the angelic figures.