The Angelic Announcement to the Shepherds

Taddeo Gaddi, The Angelic Announcement to the Shepherds, 1332–1338. Fresco, The Baroncelli Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence.

Taddeo Gaddi (1290–1366) was an accomplished medieval painter and architect. Indeed, as an architect he designed the famous Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), which still spans the Arno river in Florence. His most famous paintings are the series of frescoes he executed for the Baroncelli Chapel in Santa Croce—including the work we see here. Gaddi was intensely interested in the effect of light on his compositions. This nocturnal scene is illuminated by a supernatural soft glow surrounding the angel like a beacon—the light gradually awakening the sleeping shepherds and their flock. Gaddi’s obsession with light included a fascination with viewing solar eclipses, several of which occurred in his lifetime. In 1339 he became blinded by looking too intensely at a solar eclipse.

The Angelic Announcement to the Shepherds, by Taddeo Gaddi, 1327-1330, Florence

Painting, usually murals, created in wet plaster.

Of or relating to the Middle Ages, generally from the fifth century to the fifteenth century C.E. and overlapping somewhat with late antiquity.

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