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Annunciation scene with Gabriel appearing to Mary and the Holy Spirit as a dove between them

Detail from Annunciation by Giovanni Toscani, University Art Collection, Booth Family Center for Special Collections

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Annunciation by Giovanni Toscani

Annunciation painting before conservation treatment
Annunciation treatment after conservation treatment

Annunciation, 1420, by Giovanni Toscani

The Annunciation was painted on a wood panel with egg tempera. The egg tempera had grown fragile over the centuries: paint was coming off of the wood, and there was a greenish coat of old varnish covering the surface with hundreds of years of built-up dirt obscuring the painting's beauty.

In preparation for the painting's loan to the Uffizi for exhibition, the Art Collection procured a small amount of funding to restore the painting. A specialist from the National Gallery of Art, Carol Christiansen, worked on The Annunciation for six weeks.

The restoration revealed the painting's original vibrant colors. Gabriel's wing, which had turned a muddy brown over the centuries, is again a subtle gradation of cream to brown to vermilion.