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Copper engraving.

This eighteenth century devotional features engravings after the Flemish artist Maarten de Vos (1532-1603). Vos lived in Antwerp for most of his life, well-known as a painter of altarpieces in the Mannerist style, having been strongly influenced by the great Renaissance masters through his studies in Rome. This book was printed in Rome, in 1737, by Giovanni Maria Salvioni, the printing house of Pope Clement XII.


This scene is very elegant. Both Mary and the Angel have serene expressions on their faces, in contrast to some of the more somber expressions in the earlier examples. They face one another and carry a similar posture. Gabriel kneels and points his right hand to the heavens. In his left hand is a lily of the valley, a flower which is symbolic of virginity. The chamber is breached by light from above, marked by Hebrew script, appearing to deliver the message of God. The dove is absent from this scene. In the background of the chamber a bed is dominated, and an open door is depicted to its right. According to scholars, the symbolic use of the bed in Annunciation scenes can be traced as far back as the mid-fourteenth century.