Jacopo Landini called Jacopo del Casentino - inv. 4324
The painting is in excellent condition. It shows the Annunciation taking place in a splendid architectural setting framed by pilasters and a row of small arches. The internal space is organised around the central axis of the twisted column of the reading stand, which is ideally extended in the pilaster in the background. In this way the space is divided between the conversing Mary and Gabriel. Behind the Archangel a second angel appears, an unusual variation; above him, God the Father, in a cloud of cherubims and seraphims, directs the rays of the Holy Ghost and the dove towards the Virgin. A fine red cloth richly worked in gold hangs behind the figures, separating them from another space: a sort of chapel roofed with two starry vaults and decorated with grisaille prophets and coloured inlay.
The interest in space, the soft drapery and the faces of the characters, with elongated eyes and hands, distinguish the style of Jacopo del Casentino, one of the most important painters of the early 1300s in Florence. Probably trained with some contact with the workshop of Giotto, and especially of Taddeo Gaddi, Cesentino also looked at the Lorenzettis, from whom the more Gothic elements of his style derive. These characterise his mature period, in which this painting was realised, datable to the decade 1325-1335.
The panel was possibly part of a larger work, to which a Dormitio Virginis, similar in size and execution whose whereabouts today are unknown, also belonged. The Annunciation was stolen in 1975, but found six years later thanks to its publication in the Louvre’s catalogue of paintings. On discovering its illegal provenance, the museum returned the painting to its Italian owners.