The Annunciation - by Leonardo Da Vinci
When the Annunciation came to the Uffizi in 1867, from the Olivetan monastery of San Bartolomeo, near Florence, it was ascribed to Domenico Ghirlandaio, who was, like Leonardo, an apprentice in the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio. In 1869, Karl Eduard von Liphart, the central figure of the German expatriate art colony in Florence, recognized it as a youthful work by Leonardo da Vinci, one of the first attributions of a surviving work to the youthful Leonardo. Since then a preparatory drawing for the angel's sleeve has been recognized and attributed to Leonardo.
Verrocchio used lead-based paint and heavy brush strokes. He left a note for Leonardo to finish the background and the angel. Leonardo used light brush strokes and no lead. When the Annunciation was x-rayed, Verrocchio's work was evident while Leonardo's angel was invisible.
The product of a collaborative efforts in Verrocchiio's studio, this picture is nonetheless a masterful achievement and proof of Leonardo da Vinci's innate pictorial talent. Everything in this work is of a high poetic and stylistic quality: the handling of the figures and their attributes, the spatial construction, and the distant trees and watercourse, which attest to the artist's enduring love of nature. Many changes were to come in his painting, for da Vinci was a tireless innovator, but this picture would suffice to rank him among the greatest.