Saturday, January 8, 2011
I love annunciation paintings and have many favorites from the Flemish Primitives. Mary is being asked to make a profound choice. She is ready to say "yes." Have you ever thought of that part of the story and how she says yes with her whole heart? She doesn't ask Gabriele if she can get back to him later with a decision. There is usually an indication that this choice will lead to sacrifice. Sometimes painters showed a tiny Jesus flying to his mother from heaven, a cross in his arms. She is also frequently shown reading. She probably knows all about the prophecies, but she is still ready to say "yes." I think I will call this drawing, "Say Yes."
I put Mary in an enclosed garden, which represents her chastity, with a Northern Renaissance landscape in the distant background. I used flower imagery as the Northern Renaissance painters did. Each flower in the lawn is a symbol. For example, according to"From Van Eyck to Bruegel" by Ainsworth and Christiansen, plantain thrives in the trodden path and "is a symbol of the multitude that seeks the path of Christ." Most people of the Renaissance (and before) were illiterate. But they knew all the stories and symbols of the bible, and churches were designed to communicate with them. That is why Catholic churches and cathedrals all over the world are full of imagery in stained glass, stone, paintings, carvings, mosaic and statuary. They were created to appeal to all of the senses of people, and to teach without words.