THE PARALLEL UNIVERSES OF CARLO CRIVELLI
Carlo Crivelli (1430 - 1495) was an iconoclastic genius who, though he lived and worked in Venezia and Le Marche near Ancona at a time when the naturalistic trends of Firenze held sway, continued to work in the conservative International Gothic Style of Northern Europe.
His settings, as we see here in the finely detailed Annunciation with Santo Emidio, are jewel-like and full of elaborate allegorical detail.
Here there are two narratives taking place simultaneously in which allusions abound.
To me, the extraordinary, powerful, almost vertiginous linear perspective goes beyond being a mere line of sight to the vanishing point in the center of the painting.
Crivelli favored verdant backgrounds, his works enriched by a characteristic use of fruits (do you see the cucumber? 🙂 ), and flowers as decorative motifs, often depicted in pendant festoons, which channel the Paduan studio of Francesco Squarcione, where he studied and worked.
The painting pays homage to the town of Ascoli, to which, in 1482, Pope Sixtus IV granted a degree of self-government. It is part of an altarpiece for the church of Santa Annunziata in Ascoli to celebrate the event. The coats of arms are those of the Pope (left) and the local bishop, Prospero Caffarelli (right). News of Ascoli's new status reached the town on the feast of the Annunciation, 25 March, which then became a feast day when the town celebrated its liberty.
L’Annunciazione con San Emidio
The Annunciation with Saint Emidius