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

[on loan]

  • New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1966-09-19 to
  • Cust, L., Les Arts, pp. 4-6
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. D7 p. 441
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 30
  • Gronau, G., Allegemeines Lexikon der Bildender Kunstler, p. 68
  • Lawrence, H., Loan Exhibition of the Benson Collection of Old Italian Masters,no. 46
  • Borenius, Tancred, Rassegna d'Arte, pp. 91-92
  • Berenson, Bernard, The Venetian Painters of the Renaissance, p. 92
  • Greuber, H. and I. Spielman, Exhibition of Venetian Art,no. 35
  • Crowe, J; and G. Cavalcaselle, A History of Painting in North Italy, p. 293
  • Gronau, G., Gazette des Beaux-Arts, p. 262
  • Burlington Fine Arts Club, Early Venetian Pictures and other works of art,pl. 36, no. 46
  • Graves, A., A Century of Loan Exhibitions: 1813-1912,
  • Seidlitz, W. von, Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft,
  • Eastman, A., Great Masters of the Italian Renaissance 1400-1600,no. 27
  • Borenius, Tancred, Catalogue of Italian Pictures . . . Collected by Robert and Evelyn Benson,no. 79
  • Berenson, Bernard, The Study and Criticism of Italian art, pp. 124-125
  • Morris, J., Italian Renaissance paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and furnhishings,no. 70
  • Sutton, Denys, Apollo,fig. 8 pp. 39-40
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