Monday, October 27, 2014

Pondering the Angelus with Art: the Unexpected Encounter

In this striking detail of the Annunciation by Francesco Mochi, we find Mary startled by the arrival of the angel in her private quarters. She is still in the process of rising from her chair, clasping the Bible closely (how much closer the Word will be just moments from now!) as she turns to the unexpected messenger.

The full scene consists of two statues, carefully positioned to capture the light of their original location in the Cathedral of Orvieto. The statue of Gabriel, almost fierce in its intensity—and in its height of six feet—was completed in 1605 and has been called "the first Baroque statue." The corresponding statue of Mary (almost a foot taller than Gabriel!) was not even commissioned for another three years.

For more detail (in Italian; avail yourself of a translation service!) and for a picture of both statues in their relative positions, see this article by Stefano Torselli.

Photo by Sr Sergia Ballini, FSP.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pondering the Angelus with Art

St. Hedwig's Church in Chicago provides this week's Angelus meditation with its Bavarian stained-glass depiction of the Annunciation, one of the many striking windows in a parish church built for a Polish community in 1901.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pondering the Angelus with Art

14th century fresco, Church of San Francesco, Arezzo, Italy
The city of Arezzo appears in the "Little Flowers of St Francis": it was a city plagued by civil war, but St Francis saw that the real problem was that it was teeming with demons. Rather than go there himself, he commissioned the humble Brother Sylvester to stand before the city gates and command the trouble-makers, in the name of Almighty God, to leave in the town. Needless to say, there are still bonds of loyalty to St Francis in Arezzo!

The exquisite Annunciation fresco high on the right wall of the Basilica of St Francis in Arezzo shows Mary near her "prayer corner." There is an elegant lectern holding the Word of God, but Mary seems to have stepped just outside the canopied area to receive Gabriel's message. Instead of a canopy of masonry, it will be the Holy Spirit who overshadows Mary. Prepared for the Word of God by the Word of God, she is about to answer, "Be it done to me according to your word."

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

From St Alban's Cathedral (St Albans, England), a detail from the Annunciation window: