The Annunciation, and Art.

There is something about this image of Our Lady that I really enjoy. The painting comes from the late 19th century by an artist named Henry Tanner; it is in the artistic style of realism. I don’t understand different artistic styles, but to me, it depicts what the Annunciation could have looked like.

First I love the simplicity of Mary. It was likely that Mary was a simple woman who grew up in poverty, or at least wasn’t wealthy or of the ruling class. In this painting, she is pictured in her bedroom with very simple clothing and only a few simple items in her room. In the presence of a powerful image, she is calm, almost like she is in a conversation with the angel. The Angel also appeared to Zechariah before appearing to Mary. Luke tells us he was overcome with fear and was troubled. This painting also reminds me of the place I visited in the Holy Land. A small area which looks sorta like a cave it says in Latin, the word was made flesh here.

My Favorite part of this painting is the way the angel is depicted by the artist. Do a google image search for angels. Most of the images you will find will be human-like creatures who have wings. I can’t think of many images of angels that are not depicted in this way. I don’t mind these images of angels, but I’m not too sure these are what angels actually look like. Technically we can’t see angels, they are pure spirits, and pure spirits have no bodies. You could say Angels are similar to ghosts, but I’m not even sure that is an accurate analogy. Most of our imagery of angels is symbolic; as I understand it, they have wings because they come from above. Could an angel look like the way it is depicted in this painting? Maybe yes maybe no. In my own opinion, I believe this may be closer to what angels actually look like or the way they appear to humans. If an Angel were to appear to you, it would not be a calm sight; rather we would likely be overcome by fear of the Lord by amazement and other such emotions. It would be similar to how Zechariah reacted to the coming of the angel.                

This image of the Annunciation is one of my favorites, mostly because of how unique it is. I’m not sure if I can find an image of the Annunciation that is similar to this one. There are thousands if not hundreds of thousands of depictions of this event because outside of the resurrection the Annunciation is the most important event of our faith. At this moment the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Mary was the perfect dwelling place for our Lord to begin his life. Nine months from now we will celebrate his birth, but don’t forget without the Annunciation and Mary’s yes, there would be no Christmas, no Lent, no passion and death, and no Easter. We are so grateful to you Mary for saying YES!

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