Monday, May 30, 2016

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

This week's image, from the Walters Museum of Art, is part of a 14th century triptych featuring the
Annunciation, Presentation, Crucifixion, Coronation on the side panels surrounding the Enthroned Virgin, holding the Christ Child. A tiny goldfinch (symbol of resurrection) is nestled in the boy's hand. 
In this panel, notice how how the Virgin’s draping garment at the crucifixion above “dips” into the Annunciation frame.  

Monday, May 23, 2016

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

In Ancilla Domini (1896) by Australian artist Rupert Charles Wulsten Bunn, Mary and Gabriel occupy two different "worlds," set apart by both the floor level and the background. Gabriel, in front of a red curtain (evoking the scarlet of the Temple drapes?) is here standing upright, rather than in the more common genuflected posture.  Mary's position is elevated, as if in a raised sanctuary, but she is on her knees to accept the divine invitation. Behind Mary, on the back wall, there is a scene of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise: Mary, the new Eve, if about to "untie the knot" by which our first parents bound us in slavery to sin.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

With the return to Ordinary Time, we resume the weekly image of the Annunciation.

This bas-relief appears on the right side of the Cathedral (Duomo) of Florence. Photo by Sr. Sergia Ballini.

Another call to promote the Angelus

As the Easter season reaches its culmination in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we pray our final "Regina Coeli" of the season and begin again with the thrice-daily Angelus.

A post in the National Catholic Reporter encourages the prayer of the Angelus from a social-justice perspective.

In the image: the Archangel Gabriel is all that remains of an ancient Annunciation fresco in Santa Maria Antiqua in the Roman Forum.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Praying the Regina Coeli with Art

In this illumination from the early 1400's, the Coronation of Mary is a muted affair between Mother and Son, taking place in a private alcove with only two peeking angels as witnesses.

We have been praying the Regina Coeli (with the help of images of the Coronation) throughout the Easter Season. After Pentecost (Sunday), we will resume the prayer of the Angelus morning, noon and evening, along with weekly images of the Annunciation.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Praying the Regina Coeli with Art

The elaborate border of this image seems to say that all creation wants to join our Easter prayer to Mary, the Queen of Heaven.
Unusual for depictions of the Coronation of Mary, here we see only God the Father, while where we might expect to see a dove representing the Holy Spirit, it is a flaming, six-winged Seraph that descends with the crown.

Spitz Master (French, active about 1415 - 1425)
The Coronation of the Virgin, about 1420, Tempera colors, gold, and ink on parchment
Leaf: 20.2 x 14.9 cm (7 15/16 x 5 7/8 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

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