- Ca. 1785
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, United States
- 40.3 x 23.2 cm
- Técnica y soporte
- Oil on canvas
- Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
- Documented work
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
- Ficha: realización/revisión
- 18 Jan 2010 / 06 Sep 2022
This is a preparatory sketch for the painting commissioned by the Duke of Medinaceli for the Chapel of the Capuchin friars of San Antonio del Prado, Madrid.
The work belonged to the collection of the Marquis of the House of Torres, and was acquired by a private owner in Barcelona followed by the London collection of Daniel Wildenstein before it was eventually entrusted to the institution where it is housed today.
This sketch or initial idea for a painting differs from the final work in many ways. However, it is very possible that this was the first of various preparatory sketches which were not preserved, and this would account for the substantial differences between the two canvases.
There are two main differences between the sketch and the definitive work: the position of the two figures has been reversed, and the celestial group which appears in the sketch has been eliminated. This group is presided over by God, surrounded by a host of putti who fly around the Holy Spirit, who casts a clearly defined ray of light on the Virgin Mary. The reversal of the positions of the figures changes the way that the viewer reads the painting. If we order the characters from left to right as if this were a book, in the sketch the viewer's attention is focused on the Virgin, while in the painting we are drawn to the hand of Gabriel, which points towards the heavens.
The brushwork is impasto, almost dry. The colour scheme contrasts Mary and the Archangel, as if to separate the divine and the human. The freshness of the execution of the sketch which narrates the Annunciation (Luke 1, 26-38) contrasts with the imperial classicism of the definitive version.
Its similarities with the Annunciation by Mengs (Royal Chapel of the Palacio de Oriente, Madrid) are clear. Goya used that neoclassical composition as a reference, repeating the positions of the characters. The Virgin Mary is pictured kneeling in a similar posture, although she is on the left as in the final version, while the Archangel Gabriel is pointing to the sky. Likewise, this Gabriel is also indicating the opening in the clouds where the figure of God appears surrounded by his celestial cortege and bathed in a warm light. The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove is also present, shining a ray of light onto the Virgin Mary.
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes 1746 – 1828Galerie MiethkeVienna1908cat. 18
Austellung. Francisco de GoyaGalería Paul CassirerBerlin1907cat. 2
GoyaMinistry of Foreing AffairsBurdeos1951organized by the Bordeaux City Hall, consultant editor Gilberte Martin-Méry. From May 16th to June 30th 1951cat. 8
Goya and his timesThe Royal Academy of ArtsLondon1963cat. 66cat. 56
GoyaKoninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen MauritshuisThe Hauge1970organized by Ministerio de Estado y Asuntos Culturales and Réunion des Musées Nationaux, July 4th to September 13th 1970. Exhibited also at the Musée de l’Orangerie des Tuileries, Paris, October 25th to December 7th 1970, consultant editors Jeannine Baticle and A. B. de Vriescat. 6b
Goya y el espíritu de la IlustraciónMuseo Nacional del PradoMadrid1988from October 6th to December 18th 1988. Exhibited also at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, January 18th to March 26th 1989; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nueva York, May 9th to July 16th 1989, Madrid curator Manuela B. Mena Marqués, scientific directors Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez and Eleanor A. Sayrecat. 7
Goya. El Capricho y la Invención. Cuadros de gabinete, bocetos y miniaturasMuseo Nacional del PradoMadrid1993from November 18th 1993 to February 15th 1994. Exhibited also at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, March 18th to June 12th 1994 and The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, July 16th to October 16th 1994, consultant editors Manuela B. Mena Marqués and Juliet Wilson-Bareaucat. 14
Goya: Order and disorderMuseum of Fine ArtsBoston2014cat. 149
Vie et ouvre de Francisco de GoyaParísOffice du livre1970p. 95, cat. 235
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L’opera pittorica completa di GoyaMilanRizzoli1974p. 100, cat. 178
Francisco de Goya, 4 vols.ZaragozaCaja de Ahorros de Zaragoza, Aragón y Rioja1980-1982vol. II, p. 9 y p. 138 (il.)
Goya. El capricho y la invención. Cuadros de gabinete, bocetos y miniaturasMadridMuseo del Prado1993p. 140, cat. 14 y p. 141 (il.)
Goya: Order & DisorderBostonMuseum of Fine Arts Boston Publications2014pp. 232-233