Andrea del Sarto, The Annunciation

1528
Oil on panel, 37.7 x 74.4 in. (96 x 189 cm.)
Galleria Palatina, Florence

Instead of a dove riding a ray of light, the Holy Spirit is expressed by a flood of light from above. The reflection of the light on Mary's thigh may be the artist's translation of the text's statement, "the Holy Spirit will come upon you."

Also unusual for this period are the absence in the room of any religious signifiers (such as a prie-dieu or a book) and the hands-out gesture that was mostly abandoned in the 14th century.

The lilies of course signify Mary's virginity. The flowers in the vase in the background appear to be narcissi. According to Impelluso (93) this flower "appears in scenes of the Annunciation or Earthly Paradise as a symbol of the triumph of divine love and eternal life over death, egotism, and sin."

More of The Annunciation

Source: Wikimedia Commons