This piece was painted by Gennari II as a commission from James II, to be hung in his new chapel in the palace at Whitehall. Depicting the appearance of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary bringing news that she would bear the son of God, it is one of many religious paintings Gennarri II undertook at the request of the Catholic court of James II. The deep colours, elaborate folds of fabric and detailed curls of clouds are all evidence of Gennari’s prowess as a Baroque painter. When James II was exiled and Protestantism restored as the official religion of court, the painting was removed from the altarpiece at the palace.
Tate is pleased to offer custom prints of this artwork for the duration of the British Baroque: Power and Illusion exhibition at Tate Britain, 4 February – 19 April 2020.
Benedetto Gennari II
British Baroque: Power & Illusion
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on canvas 255.3 x 210.2 cm
Benedetto Gennari II (1633 –1715) was an Italian Baroque painter. Part of a family of famous painters, Gennari studied under his uncle Guercino, whose style influenced his early work. He travelled to France to the court of King Louis XIV in 1672, and stayed here for over a year painting for the nobility. In1674 he travelled to London, where he spent 14 years as a court painter for Charles II and then James II. When James II was exiled in 1689, Gennari followed the court to Sain-Germain-en-Laye near Paris, and continued to work for the monarch. He returned to Bologna in 1692, and became one of the founding members of the Accademia Clementina in 1709.