Outside an elegant Italian house created in the medieval style, a lush garden reflects the spring season of the Annunciation. In the central area of the panel, we see the most important part of this narrative: the Archangel Gabriel announces the impending birth of the Christ Child to Virgin Mary. This fertile landscape also provides a setting for the secondary representation at the left. In this scene, we see Adam and Eve's dramatic expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The artist used the figure of God the Father, who occupies the celestial realm in the upper left corner, to link the Expulsion to the Annunciation. While God points to the exiled couple's disgrace, he also looks toward the Annunciation, humanity's opportunity for divine redemption. Finally, at the right, Joseph warms his hands at a fireplace, symbolic of Jesus' future birth in the winter.
In celebration of Easter, find more works of art on view at the Gallery that are inspired by this significant story: http://1.usa.gov/22y44dD.
Giovanni di Paolo, "The Annunciation and Expulsion from Paradise," c. 1435, tempera on panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Samuel H. Kress Collection