Archangel Gabriel
(Antonio Vivarini)


This panel is an unpublished late work by Antonio Vivarini. The Vivarini workshop, which originated on the island of Murano, also comprised Bartolomeo (Venice 1432 – 1499), his brother and Alvise (1445-1505), Antonio’s son. This Archangel Gabriel formed part of an altarpiece representing the Annunciation. Holding a lily, symbolising the Immaculate Conception, the angel raises his right hand in an act of benediction and faces towards the Virgin. The panel with the Virgin probably formed the other half of what may have been a diptych set into a polyptych.
Mauro Lucco was the first to propose an attribution to Antonio, closely followed by Emanuele Zappasodi and Gianmarco Rosso who is proposing to publish the panel in the international Journal Humanistica directed by Professor Francesco Furlan. In his publication ‘Antonio Vivarini, Giovanni Bellini e le forme dell”Umanesimo’ Russo reconstructs the exact alter to which this panel once belonged.
The Virgin which belongs to this altarpiece was first convincingly attributed to Antonio Vivarini by Stefano Tumidei in 1996 . As Zappasodi points out (MS Comm.) ‘in his late phase Antonio changed his style increasing the monumentality of his figures, adjusting their style to the more plastic and metallic forms of Bartolomeo, but also as pointed out by Andrea De Marchi of Alvise, at the beginning of his career’. The Virgin was sold at Sotheby’s Monaco 22nd June 1996 lot 108 and it would seem that the pair formed a diptych, together with the Annunciating Angel within the polyptych. Tumidei reunites the Virgin with a Saint Louis of Toulouse and a Saint Anthony of Padua conserved in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tours and publishes this group in the museum’s catalogue.
All four panels, in all probability, originate from the upper register of a polyptich which was once painted for an as yet unidentified Franciscan church.






Figure 1 : Saint Anthony of Padua
wood, 60 x 42 cm.,
Legs Octave Linet 1963, Musée des Beaux-Arts Tours, Inv. 1963-2-23






Figure 2 : Saint Louis of Toulouse
wood, 63 x 42 cm.,
Legs Octave Linet 1963, Musée des Beaux-Arts Tours,
Inv. 1963-2-22





Figure 3 : Virgin Anunciate

Sold in Sotheby’s Monaco 1996, location unknown

Tempera on Panel 63 x 41.5 cm

Art Adorned, Christie’s London, 22 November – 3 December 2019

Where is It?
Musée des Beaux Arts Tours
Historical Period
Gothic to Early Renaissance - 1300-1450 & High Renaissance to Mannerism - 1450-1530
Price band
Sold or not available