Today is the feast of the Annunciation. Let us pray:
Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now
and for ever. Amen.
This is one of the cells at San Marco in Florence painted by Fra Angelico. Can you imaging seeing this every morning when you wake and every evening when you go to bed?
Here is some of my other favorite Annunciation art that I've seen in museums in Italy and France:
This also is at San Marco and is by Fra Angelico. He was a master a miniatures and these gilded paintings on wood are truly divine.
This fresco is at Santa Maria Novella in Florence and was painted by Ghirlandaio in the late 15th century. You see God up at the very top, and you see the tiny white dove that God is sending hovering near Mary's face.
This is the central painting in a triptych at The Louvre by Italian Renaissance painter Carlo Braccesco, which has Gabriel flying in instead of already landed. Surprise! So the setting is, technically, pre-annunciation since he hasn't started talking yet.
Here we have Donatello's early 15th Century gilded sculpture (this is in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence). This piece differs from many of the other Renaissance depictions in both the body language and the facial expressions of Gabriel and Mary. Gabriel is curious and Mary shows some gratitude in turning toward him.
This was painted in 1333 by Italian artist Simone Martini and hangs at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. It's tempura and gold on wood. I love may things about this one, particularly Gabriel's plaid cape. And in this one you see that the words Gabriel speaks are directed at Mary (who is not so happy about this encounter) while the Holy Spirit (dove and birds with angels/saints? faces in the top middle).
This is a fuzzy crop of what I think is an ivory panel of Biblical scenes from the Cluny Museum in Paris. I wish I could find out more, but this is all I have. Just trying to show different ways in which the Annunciation has been depicted.
This is a stained glass window from the mid-14th Century which is displayed in the Cluny Museum in Paris. Below is a less grainy Mary, who has a somewhat troubled face, with the dove alighting on her head and the pages of her book still turning, perhaps affected by the Spirit blowing.
Holy Mary, Holy Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.