March 14, 2010 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Annunciation. Have long been fascinated by representations of the Annunciation. A great story, covered by many artists. Esp. interested in the architectural, interior/exterior elements, diptych, or triptych layouts, and varying perspectives. (such as the tiny window at the vanishing point). Have a small collection of colored postcards/prints, (mostly Italian, Fra Angelico, etc) but would like to expand it, and understand more about the ideas behind them. Cultures vary. Viewpoints vary. Times change. Any leads/ideas/ opinions welcome.
posted by ebesan to Religion & Philosophy (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have always loved Henry Tanner's version. He was a 19th-century African American painter, which might be of interest if you're trying to expand out of the old European representations of the Annunciation.
posted by Meg_Murry at 1:29 PM on March 14, 2010

A controversial Victorian version: D. G. Rossetti's Ecce Ancilla Domini!
posted by thomas j wise at 1:49 PM on March 14, 2010

Check out the Master of Flemalle Annuciation and Van Eyck's. El Nino looks like a little old man or there's a tiny Christ clinging to his cross as he heads for Mary's ear. ;) Van Eyck's renderings of the Virgin are inside the church architecture, where she is larger than life size.
posted by effluvia at 2:05 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I love Henry Tanner's version. In contrast to more traditional interpretations, Mary seems younger, less regal, smaller somehow. The angel Gabriel manifested more as presence of light than "shiny dude with wings" gives me chills. It's a more honest rendition, in my opinion.

Looking for an image of Tanner's art online, I stumbled on this painting by He Qi. I've never heard of He Qi, but I like his Annunciation a lot, not least for the fact that it looks casual and neighborly, like the angel stopped by for a cup of sugar instead of to recruit the Mother of God.
posted by donnagirl at 2:22 PM on March 14, 2010

I returned to recommend the Annunciation of a contemporary artist, Tim Hawkinson. He made a gigantic ear sculpture with a tiny fetus where the stirrup and anvil would be in the ear canal. He's Catholic, so he's not being snarky. A lot of his work is wonderful, but very contemporary.
posted by effluvia at 2:29 PM on March 14, 2010

Get Baxandall's "Painting and Experience in 15th century Italy" for a comprehensive description of the italian preacher Fra Roberto Caracciolo da Lecce's views of the Annunciation - it has a very interesting description of the stages of the annunciation which the author tries to tie to examples in the renaissance paintings. The first stage is "Conturbatio/Disquiet"; the second stage is "Cogitatio/Reflection"; then there's "Interrogatio/Enquiry", "Humiliato/Submission" (which the Fran Angelico version is an example) and finally "Meritatio/Merit". His book is mainly about trying to figure out why did the painters opt for this or that composition and in the case of the annunciation he makes the point that probably the artists were drawing their information from the preachers and so he analyzes the relevant sermons.

Also, you may want to look for articles on the iconography of these paintings (or of the Virgin Mary) as they are usually crowded with symbols of the various perfections of the Virgin which you can find in the Litany of Loreto. These symbols are very often associated with the Song of Songs: you may notice there is a fountain ( 4:15) or a tower (4:4) and that the annunciation often takes place in an enclosed garden (4:12).
posted by lucia__is__dada at 2:39 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

You might be interested in Ernest Jones's essay "The Madonna's Conception through the Ear. A Contribution to the Relation between Religion and Aesthetics".
posted by Wolof at 7:52 PM on March 14, 2010

« Older Something like Battiato's Fetus, but not Foetus.   |   Fried Logic Board, Divorce Possible Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.