The Mariapfarr Altarpiece: Detail, The Annunciation

15th century
Parish church, Mariapfarr, Austria

This panel is in the upper left of the Mariapfarr Altarpiece, seen at right, in Mariapfarr, Austria. As in the other panels, columns left and right frame the image and an attempt is made at linear perspective even though the scene is indoors.

Otherwise the painting follows 15th-century norms rather closely. Mary kneels at a prie-dieu that holds a book, a detail that becomes common in this era. The angel's scroll bears his words from Luke 1:28, Ave Maria gratia plena Dominus tecum, "Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee." The dove arriving on a sunbeam realizes the message in Luke 1:35, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee." And of course there is the pot of flowers, used in Annunciations since the 13th century and with antecedents going back to the 4th.

It is in the 15th century that artists begin to include in the background quotidian details that nevertheless bear symbolic value. In this case, the sand in the hourglass has nearly finished its time, a reference to the approaching end of the Old Law.

For the date of this work, see my comments on the Coronation panel.

This image in full resolution
The photo of the entire altarpiece in full resolution
More of The Annunciation

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