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Van Eyck's Washington Annunciation: Technical Evidence for Iconographic Development

E. Melanie Gifford
The Art Bulletin
Vol. 81, No. 1 (Mar., 1999), pp. 108-116
Published by: College Art Association
DOI: 10.2307/3051289
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3051289
Page Count: 9
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Van Eyck's Washington Annunciation: Technical Evidence for Iconographic Development
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Abstract

Technical study of Jan van Eyck's Annunciation in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., has revealed several significantly different stages in the artist's development of the composition. The initial conception, recorded in the underdrawing, set the scene in a church of uniform architecture with a decorative floor of carpet or patterned stone. Van Eyck revised his image throughout the painting process, introducing the rich decorations with the Old Testament references that characterize the final image. In an apparently late revision, van Eyck seems to have painted the majolica vase and lilies over the previously completed floor and the Virgin's mantle.

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