Bowdoin College Homepage
Bowdoin College Museum of Art Logo and Wordmark

Advanced Search
Preview image of work. oil on copper,  Annunciation 20340

Recommend keywords

Help us make our collections more accessible by providing keywords to describe this artwork. The BCMA uses the Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus to provide consistent keywords. Enter a keyword in the field below and you will be prompted with a list of possible matching AAT preferred terms.



Export record as: Plain text | JSON | CDWA-Lite | VRA Core 4


Denys Calvaert (Dionisio or Denis Calvaert) (Antwerp, Belgium, ca. 1540 - 1619, Bologna, Italy)



Creation Date

ca. 1595


late 16th century


20 13/16 in. x 15 7/16 in. (52.86 cm x 39.21 cm)

Object Type


Creation Place

Europe, Italy

Medium and Support

oil on copper

Credit Line

Museum Purchase, Laura T. and John H. Halford, Jr. Art Acquisition Fund, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund and Jane H. and Charles E. Parker, Jr. Art Acquisition Fund


Public Domain

Accession Number


Born in Antwerp, Denys Calvaert was one of the first Northern artists to migrate to Italy, where he focused on Christian subjects. His work demonstrates the widespread power of Christian convictions among European adherents and their colonizing descendants. The Annunciation encapsulates a transformative moment in Christianity when the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear the Son of God, who would be called Jesus, conceived through the Holy Spirit. Painted on copper, its smooth surface gives a pearlescent sheen. The picture was almost certainly privately commissioned and, like Gherardo’s painting of Mary Magdalene on view nearby, used as a personal devotional object. Europeans believed that Christianity represented what was true and moral. As a result, other forms of worship or beliefs in the supernatural world were afforded little value, even though they that held great meaning among non-European cultures.