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Angel

Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion

Angel

Artist: Francesco Furini, attributed (Italian, 1603–1646)
Culture: Italian
Date: 17th century
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
33 1/4 x 28 1/8 inches (84.5 x 71.5 cm)
Classification: Painting
Credit Line: Gift of Joseph F. McCrindle
Label Text:This painting illustrates the use of sfumato, a technique popular during the Renaissance. Sfumato, which means “smoky”, describes a style of painting that eliminates harsh outlines and borders, allowing the forms of the painting to blend together through shadows and a blurred glow. This work, depicting an angel with soft, translucent wings and gauzy garments against a dark background, most likely illustrates the moment of the Annunciation, a popular Biblical theme in Catholic Italy. Here the angel Gabriel descends from heaven to announce to the Virgin Mary that she would become the Mother of God. It may have been paired with a pendant picture of the Virgin to complete the scene.
Provenance: Purchased June 7, 1961 through (Carlo Sestieri, Rome) by Joseph McCrindle; gift 1998 to Duke University Museum of Art, now Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
Object number: 1998.1.1