Arthur Hacker

The Annunciation


On loan

Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum (Leamington Spa, UK): Modern Pre-Raphaelites Visionaries

Arthur Hacker 1858–1919
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 2332 × 1257 mm
frame: 2740 × 1675 × 156 mm
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1892

Display caption

This scene shows the Christian story of the Annunciation, as told in the Gospel of James. In this version, Mary is met by an angel she cannot see while gathering water from a well. He tells her that she will have a baby and that he should be named Jesus. After studying in London and Paris, Arthur Hacker spent time in Spain and Morocco. This had a strong influence on his art. Mary’s clothing probably reflects Islamic dress Hacker saw during his travels. Infra-red photography shows that the painting originally included a woman wearing a headscarf sitting behind Mary.

Gallery label, February 2020

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Catalogue entry

Inscr. ‘Arthur Hacker 92.’ b.r.
Canvas, 91×49 1/2 (231×126).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1892.
Exh: R.A., 1892 (901).
Lit: George Moore, Modern Painting, 1898, pp.125–6; Rose G. Kingsley, ‘The Annunciation’ in Art Journal, 1901, p.8, etching repr. facing p.9.
Repr: Royal Academy Pictures, 1892, p.122; Sir Edward J. Poynter, The National Gallery, 111, 1900, p.105; Famous Pictures of the World, n.d. (in colour).

Rose Kingsley (loc. cit.) sees in this a movement towards the ideal, as a reaction against terre-à-terre realism, and links the artist with Puvis de Chavannes, Gustave Moreau and Dagnan-Bouveret, among others. ‘It is the “beyond” in one form or another that each is striving for in his own way, according to his personal temperament.’

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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