Collection Online
The Annunciation to the Shepherds

The Annunciation to the Shepherds
(L'Annunciation aux bergers)

oil on canvas
147.9 × 115.2 cm
inscribed in black paint (on rock) l.l.: J. BASTIEN - LEPAGE / 1875
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1910
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International

Collection of the artist until his death, 1884; Jules Bastien-Lepage estate sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 11-12 May 1885, no. 14; from where purchased by Maria Bashkirseff, 1885[i]; her collection, until 1891/92; with Bulla Freres et Jouy (dealer), Paris, by 1892; from where purchased by Knoedler Gallery (dealer), December 1892, stock no. 7272 (Provenance Index no. K-7146)[ii]; by whom sold to Peter Arrell Brown Widener (1834–1915), Philadelphia, 1892; his collection, Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, until 1908; from whom purchased by Knoedler Gallery, May 1908, stock no. 11586 (Provenance Index no. K-12397)[iii]; sold to Messrs Obach and Co. (dealer), London, 30 June 1910; from where purchased, on the advice of Frank Gibson, for the Felton Bequest, 1910.

[i] The mother of artist/writer Maria Bashkirtseff (Maria Konstantinovna Bashkirtseva, 1858–84), who was a student, and friend of, Bastien-Lepage.

[ii] M. Knoedler & Co. records, approximately 1848-1971, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2012.M.54, Series I.A. Paintings, 1872-1970, Painting stock book 4: 4369-8799, 1883 April-1899 April 1, p. 170; Accessed

[iii] See above, Painting stock book 5: 8800-12652, 1899 April-1911 December 1, p. 156.

Exhibited: Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Hôtel de Chimay, Paris, 1875, no. 31 (with the Prix de Rome entrants); Retrospective Centennial Exhibition, Paris, 1889, lent by Maria Bashkirtseff.

The finalists for the Prix de Rome, France’s annual competition for a travelling scholarship for art students, were assigned a set topic and were required to complete their paintings within ninety days, working in strict isolation and under guard. In 1875 the Académie des Beaux-Arts selected the Biblical subject of the Annunciation to the Shepherds. Bastien-Lepage approached the theme with the uncompromising naturalism that was to become a hallmark of his style. He was favoured to be the winner, however the heightened realism of this painting may have swayed the competition’s more conservative judges against his entry and he controversially failed to win the scholarship.


This Louis XIV revival frame became a common presentation of paintings in the nineteenth century and through the twentieth century.
It’s use here could date to any time up to the date of acquisition in 1910.
The frame is similar to the frame on Jean-Jacques Henner, Idyll - Woman with a flute 1874  (4717-3) 

The painting was cleaned in 2006.

Unknown - 19th century

timber ogee profile, covered with a decorative layer of composition


The surface has been over painted with a dull gold paint, effectively covering the variations we would expect in the gilding.

186 x 154 x 15 cm