Lotto was a restless traveller who absorbed many influences but left many letters and records. Here is a miraculous story told in simple and direct human terms. Gabriel announces to the Virgin ‘You shall conceive and bear a son and you shall give him the name Jesus’. Mary turns away from her reading of Isaiah 7:14, which begins ‘A young woman who is pregnant will have a son’. The light of the Christian faith fills the space which is her bed-chamber. It would have been against the decorum of the times to show Mary in fear and the cat amplifies this. The lily is a symbol of the Virgin. There is a Venetian quality to the light and colour of this altar-piece and a Northern-European attention to detail.