Monday, January 23, 2017

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

The visit of the Archangel to Mary (left column) appears almost as an afterthought in this detail from a French Book of Hours in the collection of The Morgan Library and Museum. The corresponding image on the right hand side is of the "Annunciation" to Joachim, who was to become Mary's father. In the dominant central frame, we see Joachim drawing near Anna his wife at the city gates, ready to kiss her. (Pious legends imagined Mary being conceived in her mother's womb in this chaste encounter.) The lower half of the page, not seen here, depicts the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. Perhaps the artist intended us to understand that it was in view of the Annunciation to Mary that the Annunciation to Joachim (and then from Joachim to Anna) was made.

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