Jan Janssens (1590 - after 1650) was a Ghent painter of religious scenes of which this remarkably vivid canvas is a good example. We can recognise the realism and the strong and dramatic chiaroscuro effects of the Italian painter Caravaggio; this style is therefore called Caravaggism.The archangel Gabriel "who looks a lot like the boy next door, except for his wings" announces to Mary that she is to be the mother of Jesus, the Son of God. At the same moment, the Holy Ghost descends on her, in the form of a dove. The Virgin has knelt in front of her prie-dieu and folded her hands before her breast in a gesture of humble acceptance. The room is strikingly bare. The scene seems to be set on a stage.
The theme of the Annunciation was much loved by artists, already before the time of the Flemish Primitives. Of the four evangelists, only Luke briefly mentions it. It only became a story when the core was embroidered upon in popular medieval devotion. Paintings such as this, often quite small, must have adorned many a private room. The scene is often situated in a contemporary house, and more in particular in a bedroom, where the Virgin sits reading piously. In older depictions, the Virgin is usually placed in an open building.
SizeH: 258,5 cm
MediumOil on canvas