Annunciate Virgin (or a saint)
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This painted wood sculpture has been attributed to Tommaso Pisano, because of its similarity to known works by the artist. It was made for the Convent of San Matteo in Pisa and is now in the Museo di San Matteo. This could be any female saint but is likely a depiction of the Virgin Annunciate, given popularity of such images at the time and the similarity to other examples. (The upward looking eyes, however, are extremely unusual for the Annunciate Virgin, who generally looks humbly down, and could suggest a different identification.) If this is the Virgin Mary, then this figure was presumably originally paired with a statue of the Angel Gabriel, to form an Annunciation. The head, neck, and hair of the figure are carved in detail and finely painted, but the body is kept simple and painted one solid colour. The arms, now lost, were likely originally attached with moveable joints. This is because the figure would have originally been dressed in actual clothing, and so there was no need for anything beyond the general form underneath. Annunciation pairs were popular in this period, many of which were made so that clothing could be added to the Virgin Mary, presumably richly embroidered, as a form of devotion. The statues must have therefore seemed like actors in a sacred play. It is not clear whether the joints were also used to put the figure in different positions, to enact different moments of the story. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.