Monday, February 29, 2016

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

The great Donatello sculpted this Annunciation in a dark stone called pietra serena, using gold leaf to brighten the scene. Originally for a family tomb, the piece now stands on its own in Florence's Church of the Holy Cross.
Photo by Sister Sergia Ballini.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

This tiny Annunciation unfolds within an initial D in an early 14th century French manuscript that gives more attention to the decorative aspects than to the Latin text it surrounds. From the Walters Museum of Art.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

From a Book of Hours for the Gualengo family, this Annunciation page faced the opening words of the office of Matins of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Angel's "Ave" appears above the scene; beneath, in a frame nesting between the tails of two peacocks, one of the family mottoes: Where God is, there is Peace and Love.

Read more from the Getty Museum of Art.

Monday, February 8, 2016

An ancient Annunciation scene?

This week's New York Times (of all places!) shone the spotlight on ancient wall art from a baptistery in Syria. It appears to show a woman at a well, and was tentatively identified (until very recently) with the Samaritan woman who encountered Jesus at a well, and heard his promise of "living water" (see John 4). However, an ancient tradition in iconography depicts the Annunciation to Mary as taking place at a well, and there are indications that this Syrian painting may be one of the earliest such images: sketches from the 1932 excavation of the site include lines (of text?) that might be Mary's response, and--most strikingly--a starburst near the woman's abdomen: a powerful representation of the Word being made flesh.

The jury is still out on the meaning of the image, and time may be running out for it, as well, given the destructive zeal for plunder by the IS forces on the ground in Syria.

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

The bronze figures of Gabriel and the Virgin by Igor Mitorj are from the left-side door (completed only in 2005) of the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels and Martyrs in Rome (just beyond the Termini train station). The incomplete arms of both figures are the artist's homage to the state of the classical statues that had earlier been on display in a local museum.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

The Annunciation, by Arthur Joseph Gaskin

Gaskin, an Englishman, studied at the Birmingham School of Art. He had not even completed the program when he joined the faculty, later marrying one of his students. He was affiliated with the Arts and Crafts movement, applying its principles to his special work in jewelry, a specialization that shows in the jewel tones of this Annunciation.