The angel Gabriel announces the birth of Jesus to Mary; the light of the Holy Spirit alights on her brow. Etching by V. Lefebvre, c. 1670, after Titian.
- Titian, approximately 1488-1576.
Selected images from this work
About this work
Bible. N.T. Luke 1.26-35. The angel brings Mary two lilies. The light of the Holy Spirit shoots toward her brow. Next to her are a sewing basket, an apple and a game fowl, possibly a partridge. Over the balcony hangs a shawl
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 the excessive 'familiarity' of religious art of the 15th century" (Réau)
On Eve as a possible symbolic conduit for the apple and the sewing kit, see L. Réau, loc. cit.
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