The Annunciation
Francesco Bissolo (Italian, 1470/72-1554)
On View

Bissolo was a student of Giovanni Bellini. From this master Bissolo learned to describe form with color and light, a much-celebrated technique of the Venetian School. This soft tonalism is evident in the rich colors of Mary's room, the warm light that bathes her chamber and the early morning landscape.

Bissolo has depicted the moment that the Angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will miraculously bear a son. By silhouetting their faces against darker forms, the artist encourages the viewer to meditate on the meaning of the mystery.


  • Artist Name: Francesco Bissolo (Italian, 1470/72-1554)
  • Title: The Annunciation
  • Date: c.1500
  • Medium: Oil on panel, transferred to canvas
  • Dimensions: 43-3/4 x 39-1/2 in. (111.1 x 100.3 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.2004.2.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

Count Manfrin collection, Venice, in 1855, still in 1877.
Robert H. (1850-1929) and Evelyn Holford Benson, London; by 1894; sold 1 June 1927 to
[Duveen Bros., New York; stock no. 29351; 1938, stock no. 29838]
The Norton Simon Foundation (F.1965.1.5.P); sold 2004 to
Norton Simon Art Foundation

Early Venetian Pictures and other works of art

  • Burlington Fine Arts Club, 1912 to

Great Masters of the Italian Renaissance 1400-1600

  • Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1953-10-04 to 1953-11-01
  • Vancouver Art Gallery, 1953-11-15 to 1953-12-13

Italian Renaissance paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and furnishings

  • Vancouver Art Gallery, 1953-11-17 to 1953-12-13

[on loan]

  • New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1966-09-19 to

Exhibition of Venetian Art

  • London, New Gallery, 1894 to 1895

Religious Paintings by Old Masters

  • Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Art Gallery, 1945-12-02 to 1946-01-03

[on loan]

  • Detroit Institute of Arts, 1974-11-08 to

Loan Exhibition of the Benson Collection of Old Italian Masters

  • Manchester, City Art Gallery, 1927-04-27 to 1927-07-30

[on loan]

  • Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1968-04-01 to 1968-10-31

Lock, Stock and Barrel: Norton Simon's Purchase of Duveen Brothers Gallery

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2014-10-24 to 2015-02-16
  • Gronau, G., Gazette des Beaux-Arts, p. 262
  • Cust, L., Les Arts, pp. 4-6
  • Borenius, Tancred, Rassegna d'Arte, pp. 91-92
  • Sutton, Denys, Apollo, fig. 8 pp. 39-40
  • Berenson, Bernard, The Venetian Painters of the Renaissance, 1894, p. 92
  • Greuber, H. and I. Spielman, Exhibition of Venetian Art, 1894, no. 35
  • Berenson, Bernard, The Study and Criticism of Italian art, 1901, pp. 124-125
  • Seidlitz, W. von, Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft, 1910,
  • Gronau, G., Allegemeines Lexikon der Bildender Kunstler, 1910, p. 68
  • Crowe, J; and G. Cavalcaselle, A History of Painting in North Italy, 1912, p. 293
  • Burlington Fine Arts Club, Early Venetian Pictures and other works of art, 1912, pl. 36, no. 46
  • Graves, A., A Century of Loan Exhibitions: 1813-1912, 1913,
  • Borenius, Tancred, Catalogue of Italian Pictures . . . Collected by Robert and Evelyn Benson, 1914, no. 79
  • Lawrence, H., Loan Exhibition of the Benson Collection of Old Italian Masters, 1927, no. 46
  • Eastman, A., Great Masters of the Italian Renaissance 1400-1600, 1953, no. 27
  • Morris, J., Italian Renaissance paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and furnhishings, 1953, no. 70
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, 1989, p. 30
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. D7 p. 441
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