oil paint and wax on canvas
United States
Overall: 84 × 96 in. (213.36 × 243.84 cm)
Not on view

“In my mind, the small panels are the light and the darkness . . . the idea of Christ as light.”  —Brice Marden

Meritatio is one of a sequence of five multipanel paintings, collectively titled Annunciation. The series interprets a 15th-century Italian priest’s commentary on Mary’s response to the news that she would give birth to a savior: disquiet, reflection, inquiry, submission and, in this painting, merit. The panels’ varying widths and colors reflect thoughts about light and darkness and good and evil.

Like other artists associated with Minimalism, Marden communicates through abstract means, emphasizing smooth surfaces, carefully mixed colors, and simple geometric units. The paintings’ titles, and Marden’s comments on his inspiration, however, allow—even encourage—the kind of symbolic content more-often association with representation than with abstraction.

Signed and dated "B. Marden 1978" on the back of the white panel
"Meritatio" written on the back of each panel
Gift of the Sydney and Frances Lewis Foundation
Selections from the Sydney and Frances Lewis Collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE, March 29 – May 10, 1987

Late Twentieth Century Art from the Sydney and Frances Lewis Foundation Collection, Gibbes Art Gallery, Charleston, SC, October 15, 1981 – January 10, 1982; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MI, January 31 – March 14, 1982; University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, March 28 – May 30, 1982; Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA, September 10 – October 31, 1982; Allentwon Art Museum, Allentown, PA, November 14 – January 16, 1983; University Memorial Gallery, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, January 30 – March 13, 1983; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY, March 25 – May 29, 1983

Brice Marden: Paintings, Drawings, Etchings, 1975-80, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, March 12 – April 21, 1981; Whitechapel Gallery, London, May 8 – June 21, 1981

The Sydney and Frances Lewis Foundation Collection, Anderson Gallery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, December 5, 1978 – January 8, 1979; Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, March 22 – May 2, 1979; The Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, OH, September 13 – November 4, 1979; Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Memphis, TN, December 2, 1979 – January 27, 1980; Dupont Gallery, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA, February 18 – March 21, 1980; The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH, September 21 – November 9, 1980; Madison Art Center, Madison, WI, November 23, 1980 – January 18, 1981

Brice Marden: Recent Paintings and Drawings, Pace Gallery, New York, NY, September 23 – October 21, 1978
(Pace Gallery, New York) by 1978; Purchased by the Sydney and Frances Lewis Foundation, Virginia, in October of 1978; Gift to Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), Richmond, Virginia in October of 1985.
©artist or artist’s estate

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.