Other paintings

'Christ Pantocrator' (Christ the Almighty)

Images of Christ

Annunciation, Dante Gabriel Rosetti, 1850

The Annunciation

The Virgin of the Veil, Aambrogio Borgognone, 1500

The birth of Jesus

Father and Son, by Corbert Gauthier

The family of Jesus

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, Peter Paul Rubens & Jan Brueghel the Younger, 1628

Martha, Mary & Lazarus

Sculpture, Mary Magdalene turns to look at the risen Christ

Mary Magdalene

Michael Belk, photograph, detail

Jesus and children

Entry into Jerusalem, mosaic, Palermo cathedral

Entry into Jerusalem

Christ Cleansing the Temple, by Carl Heinrich Bloch, 1875, detail

Cleansing of the Temple

The Last Supper, Pierre Dancart, Seville Cathedral

The Last Supper

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, painting by Heinrich Hofmann, 1890

Agony in the Garden

The Kiss of Judas, (El Beso de Judas), Francisco Salzillo, carving, 1754

The Kiss of Judas

'Ecce Homo' (Behold the Man), Antonio Ciseri

Jesus and Pontius Pilate

The Crown of Thorns, Cranach

The Passion

Crucifixion, painting by Francis Bacon, 1933

The Crucifixion

The Pieta, sculpture by Michelangelo

Descent from the Cross

Burial of Christ by Caravaggio, detail of the face of Mary, mother of Jesus

The burial of Jesus

Bramantino, The Resurrected Christ, 1490

The Resurrection

Christ as portrayed in 'Passion of the Christ' movie

Modern images of Jesus


 

Events in the life of Jesus Christ

Life of Jesus

Jesus' ancestors

Annunciation

Birth of Christ

Shepherds & Angels

Wise Men/Magi

Flight to Egypt

The Lost Boy

Jesus' Ministry 

Baptism

Rejection at Nazareth

Miracles

Wedding at Cana

Gerasene Demoniac

Jairus' Daughter

Loaves & fishes

Transfiguration

Parables

Ten popular parables

The Good Samaritan

The Prodigal Son

The Rich Fool

Parable of the Seeds

Trial & Death

Entry into Jerusalem

Cleansing the Temple

Betrayal by Judas

The Last Supper

The Garden of Olives

Annas and Jesus

Caiaphas: the Trial

Peter's Denial

Herod and Pontius Pilate

The Scourging of Jesus

Death Sentence

Way of the Cross

Crucifixion

Jesus on the cross

Jesus dies

Burial of Jesus

Resurrection

Resurrection

Magdalene at the Tomb

Peter and John

Doubting Thomas

Emmaus

Maps


 


 

 

 

 

 

Life of Jesus Christ: famous paintings of the Annunciation

PAINTINGS OF MARY & THE ANGEL: ANNUNCIATION 

Home                               Hidden meanings                              Bible study:  the Annunciation                              Gospel text 


 

Mary, a young unmarried girl in the remote village of Nazareth, had a profound experience, a message from God that the gospels describe as the visit of an angel. She was asked to be the mother of a son who would one day be the Messiah. She accepted this awesome task.

Annunciation, Fra Angelico, 1438

Annunciation, Fra Angelico, 1438

 


 

Annunciation, John William Waterhouse, 1914

Annunciation, John William Waterhouse, 1914

 


Annunciation, Titian, 1522

Annunciation, Titian, 1522

 


Annunciation, Antonello da Messina, 1474

Annunciation, Antonello da Messina, 1474

 


Annunciation, Fra Angelico

 


Annunciation, George Hitchcock, 1887

Annunciation, George Hitchcock, 1887

 


Annunciation, John Collier

Annunciation, John Collier

 


Annunciation, Fra Angelico

Annunciation, Fra Angelico

 


Annunciation, Dante Gabriel Rosetti, 1850

Annunciation, Dante Gabriel Rosetti, 1850

The color white dominates this painting. It is the color of purity and innocence, but it is a cold color too, and is relieved only a little by the limited use of blue, gold and red. The Angel Gabriel offers Mary a lily - a flower which denotes purity - as he asks Mary if she will bear the Christ child.


Annunciation with Saints Ansano and Giulitta, Simone Martini, 1333

Annunciation with Saints Ansano and Giulitta, Simone Martini, 1333

 


Annunciation, Leonardo da Vinci & Andrea del Verrocchio, 1472

Annunciation, Leonardo da Vinci & Andrea del Verrocchio, 1472

 


Annunciation, Jean Hey, Master of Moulins, 1490-5

Annunciation, Jean Hey, Master of Moulins, 1490-5

 


Annunciation, Peter Paul Rubens, 1610

Annunciation, Peter Paul Rubens, 1610

 


The Cestello Annunciation, Sandro Botticelli, 1489

The Cestello Annunciation, Sandro Botticelli, 1489

 


Annunciation, Edward Burne-Jones, 1876

Annunciation, Edward Burne-Jones, 1876

In 'The Annunciation' Burne-Jones chose a vertical and narrow composition, similar to his stained glass designs. Mary looks startled by the angel's appearance. The tilt of her head and the way in which she tightly clasps her dress suggest her acceptance of this event that will change her life forever. It is as if she foresees everything that will happen to her: the honour of giving birth to God's Son but also the sorrow she will experience as a mother losing her son. Notice the relief on the arch: it shows the angel expelling Adam and Eve from Eden. Mary will be the second Eve who helps to redeem mankind.


Annunciation, Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1898

Annunciation, Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1898

 


Annunciation, Petrus Christus, 1452

Annunciation, Petrus Christus, 1452

 


Annunciation, Gherardo Stamina, 1482

Annunciation, Gherardo Stamina, 1482


Annunciation, stained glass window, origin unknown

Annunciation, stained glass window, origin unknown

 


Annunciation, James Christensen

Annunciation, James Christensen


The Annunciation, artist unknown

The Annunciation, artist unknown

 

 

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Paintings by

Fra Angelico (1)

Fra Angelico (2)

Fra Angelico (3)

Sandro Botticelli

Edmund Burne-Jones

Christensen

Petrus Christus

John Collier

Jean Hey

Antonello da Messina

Leonardo da Vinci

George Hitchcock

Simone Martini

Dante Gabriel Rosetti

Peter Paul Rubens

Gherardo Stamina

Henry Ossawa Tanner

Titian

John Waterhouse

Stained glass window

 

Hidden meanings  in Annunciation paintings
  • Rays of light passing through a glass window, or a walled garden and a tower, are symbols of the Virgin's chastity.

  • Christians believed the Annunciation took place in springtime - the Annunciation is celebrated on 25 March, nine months before the Nativity/Christmas Day.  So Mary is often shown with a spring flower in a vase, which later became a lily, the symbol of virginity. 

  • The archangel Gabriel is winged and traditionally in white. He may be descending towards the Virgin, or standing or kneeling before her. In early examples the angel holds a sceptre tipped with a fleur-de-lys, an attribute of Gabriel, but later he holds the lily. In Sienese paintings he holds an olive branch, a sign of the enmity that existed between Siena and Florence, since a lily was the  emblem of Florence. 

  • Mary is often shown with a book open at the celebrated prophecy of Isaiah (7:14), 'A young woman is with child, and she will bear a son . .' 

  • The dove usually descends on a slanting ray of light that touches the Virgin's head or breast, delicately suggesting the moment of conception.

  • Italian Renaissance paintings show Mary in an open loggia or portico, and only rarely in her house. Northern artists put her in an ecclesiastical setting, because the Gothic style with pointed arches and slender pillars symbolized Christianity and the Church. This contrasted with other buildings in the painting rounded arches, plain pillars and domes which correspond to the architectural style of the eastern Mediterranean, and are therefore symbolic of Judaism. The Virgin is sometimes depicted within or standing at the door of a Gothic building, while nearby the Romanesque crumbles into ruins. 

  • The area in which the Virgin receives the angel is well lit, illuminated by the light of the Christian faith, in contrast to the small dark windows of the 'eastern' (Romanesque) temple in the background. 

  • With the art of the Counter-Reformation came a complete change of setting. The background was usually clouds and sky, out of which the dove descended in a dazzling light, suggesting that heaven is an immediate presence.

 

The Bible text - the Annunciation story

The Gospel of Luke 1:26-38

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, "Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." 34 And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" 35 And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. 36 And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible." 38 And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

 

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Bible Study Guide:  Jesus Christ:  Paintings and Artworks from the New Testament:  The Annunciation, the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary

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