Monday, September 22, 2014

Pondering the Angelus

In artistic representations of the Annunciation, Mary's attitude is always primary. All history is, literally, hanging on her words! Each artist takes pains to highlight this using the tools available: setting, lighting, furnishings, posture.  The depiction by Fra Carnavale (below) is fairly unique in being set not in Mary's private room or in an enclosed portico, but outside, albeit in a courtyard. The architecture seems to dominate the scene in a way that almost overwhelms the figures of Gabriel and Mary. The white dove, barely distinguishable from the clouds, soars over the narrow doorway (or perhaps from that open doorway on the left) to shower new grace upon the unveiled Virgin. The setting may be fairly unusual, but her response is familiar: "Be it done to me."

 Fra Carnevale, Annunciation, Samuel H Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art

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