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The Annunciation to the Virgin in her room. Engraving by C.J. Visscher (?).

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Bible. N.T. Luke 1.26-35. The Virgin holds her hand to her left breast and rests her other hand upon the book. Behind the bed there lies a tomb, upon which rests a lamp, a book and two inscribed stone tablets. In the centre of the clouds is the sign for Jahweh

The attitudes and postures of the Virgin and the angel have varied significantly and even interchanged in Christian iconography. The plethora of differing images of the Annunciation provides a real insight into the history of emotion and its representation in gesture. The variations of the Virgin's posture provide much of the interest. Her hand is usually active; sometimes she is intently studying, sometimes she is in a gesture of almost carnal surprise. She may be glorified, or on the other hand she may kneel. Then the angel varies in relation to her: he might kneel before her. After the Council of Trent, the angel was set in the air, "reacting against", as Réau suggests, "the excessive 'familiarity' of religious art of the 15th century". On these issues, see L. Réau, 'Iconographie de l'art chrétien'. Presses Universitaires de France : Paris, 1957, vol. 2, book 2, pp. 178-187 (particularly p. 182)


[Amsterdam] : Claes Jansz Visscher.

Physical description

1 print : line engraving ; platemark 20.2 x 25.6 cm


Te Gabriel sposaque dei matreque futuru, o maria, inlaesa virginitate, canit: Felix divinis quae credere vocibus ausa es felix exeplo quisquis et inde tuo. C.J. Visscher excudit. Luce cap. 1. vers 26.


Wellcome Library no. 21698i



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