Annunciation tabernacle

Annunciation tabernacle

Purchased from Giuseppe Lelli in 1895 for £169 16s 2d

Original:

Annunciation
Tabernacle
Donatello (1386-1466)
Second quarter of the 15th century
Original of limestone with residual gilding and polychromy
Church of S. Croce, Florence, against the South Wall, in the sixth bay

Removed to its present location in 1566. Sixteenth century sources give the location of this tabernacle as the Cavalcanti chapel in S. Croce, implying that it was commissioned by the Calvalcanti family. However, it is not certain which member of the Calvalcanti family was responsible for this commission, and the location of the Calvalcanti chapel within S. Croce during the 15th century has not yet been fully established. Today, in S. Croce, the tabernacle is crowned by six terracotta putti holding garlands by Donatello. When the cast was acquired in 1895, only four putti were in place. In 1894, two reclining putti were found in storage in S. Croce, and these were not restored to the tabernacle until 1900. Presumably, the final relationship between the six putti had not been sufficiently reconstructed by 1895 for them to be included in the reproduction.