“Annunciation” by Caravaggio, dated 1608-1609.
For a class I will be giving, I am going in detail through forty or so representations of the annunciation, from early Christianity (3rd c.) to the early 20th c.; and among them, I admit this one by Caravaggio simply stands alone.
Kindly note that underlining this painting does not diminish the beauty, tenderness and even perfection of details in other wonderful representations (the catacombs of Rome, Byzantine mosaics, Medieval illustrated manuscripts, Giotto, Van Eyck, Da Vinci, Cristus, and so many others).
It is simply that Caravaggio gives the viewer so much to ponder through his mastery of painting light and darkness, the gestures, the seemingly simple composition and more. I will write no more and let you appreciate it.
Art via the Musée des Beaux Arts, Nancy.