Arthur Hacker

The Annunciation


Not on display

Arthur Hacker 1858–1919
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 2311 × 1257 mm
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1892

Display caption

Hacker was one of a generation of British artists who trained in Paris. Here he developed a style that harmonised plein air realism with academic idealism. His art was also influenced by his travels in Spain and Morocco as indicated by the lighting and setting of this painting. The subject derives from the 2nd century Protevangelium of James which describes Mary receiving the Annunciation from an invisible angel while gathering water from a well. Infra-red photography reveals that the composition originally featured a woman wearing a headscarf seated, behind Mary, at the lower left.

Gallery label, November 2016

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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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