The Virgin looks up at the announcing angel; cherubs spin in a circle around the Holy Spirit. Engraving after J. Callot (?).
- Callot, Jacques, 1592-1635.
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Bible. N.T. Luke 1.26-35. A circle of cherubs spin around the Holy Spirit, which shoots its light into Mary's shoulder. The angel Gabriel kneels on a cloud. The Virgin is studiously reading and perhaps writing (there is an inkpot on the table); next to her stands an empty chair; her sewing instruments (from her days in the Temple) lie around her feet. On the other side of the court a chair stands against an exterior wall. On the other side of it rests an upturned pillar among the foliage 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)
1 print : etching ; image 14.4 x 20.2 cm
Wellcome Library no. 21697i