Long before the beginning of the fifteenth century, large, multi-panelled retables were common across Spain, but by the late fourteenth century, particularly in Aragon and Catalonia, the design of such altarpieces had begun to display an increasing delicacy, both in their painted scenes and in their complex architectural framing elements. Joan Mates’ work typified this increased refinement, establishing him as one of the most significant painters at work in early fifteenth century Barcelona. Characterised by their elegant, light style, these two panels are fine examples of Mates’ work, showing influences from the Franco-Flemish manuscript illuminations he would certainly have seen in the cultured urban environment in which he worked. As demonstrated by their remarkable original frames, topped by the ornate xambrana (chambrana, curved mouldings surmounted by leaves and culminating in a central leafed pinnacle), the two scenes would have originally formed the uppermost parts of a retable’s calles laterales, the side panels of an altarpiece which flanked the central iconography. The Annunciation and Resurrection would almost certainly have been either side of a Crucifixion, the standard subject for the central summit of a retable across the Iberian Peninsula. Though it cannot be determined for certain, the somewhat unusual presence of the Virgin Mary in the Resurrection (though this was more common in Catalonia and Valencia than elsewhere in Europe) may suggest that the original retable was dedicated to her. A further panel of the Adoration of the Shepherds (Private collection; Christie's, New York, 27 April 2017, lot 106) has been associated with the panels, strengthening the hypothesis of the original retable’s Marian iconography.