Monday, June 29, 2015

Pondering the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

This lovely page from a Book of Hours was illustrated by Jean Bourdichon of Tours, who illuminated manuscripts for French royalty throughout his long and active life. Gabriel's pose is surprising. Perhaps the message has already been delivered in full and the angel awaits Mary's response?

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Gift of Peter Sharrer, 2004).

Monday, June 22, 2015

Pondering the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

"The Holy Spirit will overshadow you..." Gabriel explained to Mary. She understood what he left unsaid: Just as "the glory of the Lord" covered Mount Sinai with a cloud (Ex 24:16-18), and the same mysterious cloud "filled the Tent of Meeting" (Ex 40:34-38) and then the original Temple of Jerusalem (2 Chron 7:1-2), Mary herself would become God's dwelling place on earth.

This image, from a photo by Sister Sergia Ballini, FSP, is from the Franciscan Cloister of Mariaburg in Näfels, Switzerland. It appears to be a detail from a traditional Annunciation. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Pondering the Angelus with Art: This Week's Annunciation Scene

15th century was a high point  in the production of woodcut images, especially in Germany. The timing couldn't have been better. As the newborn printing industry developed, woodcut images found a place in the printing forms along with carefully set type, providing illustrations and headings that at first had been done by hand. But stand alone images, hand-colored like this one, were common devotional articles (or destined for a Book of Hours). The Annunciation was a popular theme.

Image from the National Gallery of Art.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Pondering the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

It is not entirely clear that this actually is an Annunciation, although many of the usual features are in the image (Mary at prayer beneath a canopy, the arriving angel and rays of light from Heaven and then from the angel), but other typical features are absent (lily or staff, the words "Hail Mary," a dove or clear representation of the mystery at hand). The words below the image are the opening verse of the Divine Office, "God [come] to [my] assistance," which would be expected in a Book of Hours.

By the Master of Guillaume Lambert (French, active about 1475 - 1485), from the J. Paul Getty Museum Open Content Program.

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

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