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The Annunciation

Considered the masterpiece of Gregorio Martinez, this Annunciation, from 1596, was the altarpiece, commissioned by the banker Fabio Nelli for his funerary chapel in the church of the convent of San Agustin, in Valladolid. It was completed by a predella with four panels relating to the childhood of Christ and by a cymatium, where the Trinity was represented. After the confiscations of Mendizabal’s ecclesiastical property, only the Annunciation has reached the collections of the Museo Nacional de Escultura in Valladolid. Martinez’s composition, immersed in a golden light, is played by synecdoche: the vase of flowers with the symbolic floral essences made up of roses and lilies, like hortus conclusus; the lectern with the relief of a prophet, for the room of Mary and the story of the coming of Christ. It should be noted that Gabriel carries with him an olive branch, a symbol often present, together with the lily, in the iconographies of this subject, well expressed in the prestigious antecedent of Simone Martini and Lippi Memmi (around 1333). The soft shades of color, the value of chiaroscuro and the preference for the bombastic folds of the clothes are the salient features of this artist’s paintings. Here, his admiration for Michelangelo’s powerful forms merges with the sweetness of Raphael’s faces.

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