Pardon our dust while we update this corner of the website.

The Annunciation

Henry Ossawa Tanner, American (active France), 1859 - 1937

Made in Paris, France, Europe


Oil on canvas

57 × 71 1/4 inches (144.8 × 181 cm) Framed: 6 feet 1 3/4 inches × 7 feet 3 1/4 inches (187.3 × 221.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

* Gallery 211, American Art, second floor (Roberts Gallery)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1899

Social Tags

african american art [x]   african american artists [x]   annunciation [x]   bedroom [x]   biblical [x]   black art [x]   christianity [x]   christmas [x]   gabriel [x]   holiday [x]   illusion [x]   inspirational [x]   light [x]   religious [x]   virgin mary [x]  

[Add Your Own Tags]

Tanner painted The Annunciation soon after returning to Paris from a trip to Egypt and Palestine in 1897. The son of a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Tanner specialized in religious subjects, and wanted to experience the people, culture, architecture, and light of the Holy Land. Influenced by what he saw, Tanner created an unconventional image of the moment when the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear the Son of God. Mary is shown as an adolescent dressed in rumpled Middle Eastern peasant clothing, without a halo or other holy attributes. Gabriel appears only as a shaft of light. Tanner entered this painting in the 1898 Paris Salon exhibition, after which it was bought for the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1899, making it his first work to enter an American museum.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.