This year our Advent course is looking at the Art of Advent. We began this week with the Annunciation for that is where our story begins. The paintings we looked at are below. It wasn’t easy to choose a selection from so many beautiful and original artworks, but I tried to find some from different eras and styles. First we all talked about what we could see in the painting and that took lots of time and good conversations. Then we looked for the symbols: the lilies, the dove, the colour blue etc. Then I told them a bit about the painting and the story. We finished with a meditation I’d written and a prayer.
The Annunciation by Fra Angelico (c1450) San Marco, Florence
The Annunciation by Jan de Beer, c1520, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
The Annunciation by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1849-1850, Tate Britain, London
The Annunciation by John William Waterhouse, 1850, Tate Britain, London
The Annunciation by Arthur Joseph Gaskin, 1898
The Annunciation by Henry Tanner, 1898, Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Annunciation by Marianne Stokes, 1900
The Annunciation by Luc Olivier Merson, 1908, Musee Thomas-Henry, Cherbourg
Annunciation by John Collier, 2000, St Gabriel’s RC Church, Texas
Annunciation by Dan Thompson
MEDITATION on ANNUNCIATION
there was a noise
an owl perhaps?
or a bird of some kind?
I looked up
and there he was
this creature who was not an owl
but a man, or not a man,
a man with wings the colours of heaven
a heaven-sent man, an angel
“Fear not!” he cried.
But it was too late
for I feared for my life
“You will bear a child” he said
and I feared for my life
and the life of my child
for I could not imagine our future together
I think I gasped
or certainly my hands flew to my heart,
my head, my side, my belly
trembling as I steadied myself
“How can this be?” I whispered
and this angel Gabriel, the messenger, told me
but I don’t remember his words now
but I know I had to answer Yes or No
Yes or No
Did I have it in me to say Yes?
Did I dare?
PRAYER (by Angela Ashwin)
God we thank you that you made yourself known
to someone without power, wealth or status;
and we praise you for the courage of Mary,
this young woman from Galilee,
whose Yes to the shame and shock of bearing your Son
let loose the unstoppable power of love
which changed the world.