Lupo di Francesco
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These painted wood sculptures of the Angel Gabriel and the Annunciate Virgin were made around 1320 and are one of the earliest surviving examples of this type of Annunciation pair, which became popular in Tuscany from the mid trecento until the early quattrocento. The artist, Lupo di Francesco, worked as a stone carver at the cathedral of Pisa, and then became the head of the workshop there in 1315, after the departure of Tino da Camaino. He worked locally in Pisa but also had an international reputation, as he is also documented to have made the tomb of of St. Eualia in Barcellona. The elongated proportions, which give the figures a courtly elegance, are typical of his style. The pair are well-preserved, except for the loss of Gabriel's wings and Mary's arms, which may have been attached with moveable joints. 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. 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. Many statues of the Virgin Annunciate were made in this period so that clothing could be added, presumably richly embroidered, as a form of devotion. The statues must have therefore seemed like actors in a sacred play. The statues of Gabriel, however, were not dressed, as they have richly sculpted clothing. Here, in contrast to Mary's plain, straight dress, Gabriel has both a dress and a cloak, which he holds, causing deep folds to ripple in the fabric, which is painted white with an exceptionally intricate design of lilies arranged in a cross shape in red, blue and gold on a white ground. These sculptures came from the Conservatorio di Sant'Anna in Pisa to their current location, the Museo di San Matteo in Pisa. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.