Friedsam Annunciation


The art has raised debates over its original artist although it was attributed to Petrus Christus after various artistic aspects indicated his characteristics in the art. It is called the “Friedsam Annunciation”. The artwork does not have a specified date of creation. However, it is believed to had been painted between 1400-1600 A.D. The art work was painted using oil on a wooden surface. Its overall measurement is 78.7 x 65.7 cm while painted surface measures 77.5 X 64.1 cm. I selected that art work in particular because it has a compelling story and it is uniquely done as compared to some other works. It has a bird’s eye angle which gives it a unique angle and the 3D aspect of the art is superbly portrayed.


The artwork can be located at gallery 625 named Van Eyck, Memling, and Fifteenth-Century Netherlandish Painting. The other works displayed in the gallery are European art works specifically Netherlandish ones. The relationship between the other artworks to the annunciation is that they are Netherlandish European paintings. The art works in the gallery have a religious theme.

Historical background

According to Metropolitan museum, a series of people have owned the art work since its creation:

Prince of Charleroi (or Charolais); J. J. van Hal, Antwerp (his estate sale, Snyers, Antwerp, August 23, 1836, no. 80, as by Jan van Eyck, for Fr 2,800 to Nieuwenhuys); C. J. Nieuwenhuys, Brussels (1836–at least 1847); Monsieur Parent, Paris (by 1860); his granddaughter, comtesse O'Gorman, Paris (probably until 1926; sold to Allen Loebl); [Allen Loebl, Paris, 1926; sold to Lehman]; Philip Lehman, New York (1926; sold to Kleinberger); [Kleinberger, New York, 1926 who sold it for $65,000 to Michael Friedsam, New York (1926–d. 1931)( n.p)

At the time the art was painted, the Netherlandish period experienced a period of crafts and was well known for producing luxurious merchandise. This is portrayed through the art which shows well crafted walls. Also, religious paintings were dominant in the period.

Visual elements analysis               

The art work employs several aspects of design that make it outstanding. It uses straight vertical lines as well as curved lines.  The details in the picture and its 3D in the art work moved my eye. The art uses geometrical shapes on the door and windows of the church. The art work uses an analogous palette. It also applies low-key in most parts of the drawing.  The source of light in the drawing seems to be coming from the right hand side. Gradual depth is used to apply the 3D look and feel. The artist used linear perspective and implied texture to portray the objects in the art work. Symmetrical balance is used to balance the art work. Bright colors are also used in the foreground as opposed to the background to balance the drawing. The texture of the artwork is mostly implied. In the drawing emphasis is placed on the entrance of the church where Virgin Mary is standing. The artist uses light/ dark contrast to emphasize this and places the object in the foreground giving it a large size. The artwork’s scale is small with abstract proportionality being applied. Rhythm is portrayed in the art work through repetition of shapes.


The subject matter of this piece of work is Christianity. Authors have reviewed it and claimed that it portrays transition from Judaism to Christianity. The nature of the painting is done using the Netherlandish painting style which relates it to other art works of the time. The author uses symbolic objects like an Angel, Virgin Mary, the writing at the door, dressing and the Church.


The art work’s sole purpose is believed to have been drawn for a client in Italy. However, this is not clear since the real history behind the art is unknown. The theory thus holds that it was intended for an Italian client.


In conclusion, Petrus, if indeed is the original artist of the painting, was able to merge the 15th century lifestyle and the religious ancient times to come up with a spectacular piece. The richness of the green sinking deep into the Background symbolizes the development experienced at the time.

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