Germany nineteenth century
Size: cm 41 x 44
Weight: Kg 3,6
The lightness of the angel, Mary’s expression of surprise, the movement of God’s arms in letting the dove free, the underlying architecture … in all this lies the strength of this wood carving Annunciation.
Representation and symbolism
Typically in annunciations scenes Mary is depicted in kneeling or seated positions with the archangel Gabriel to her left. In this 19th century carved piece we can see her standing outside the temple of Salomon with a book in her hand. During medieval times Mary was considered a great scholar hence she is depicted either reading or as in this scene holding the book in her hand
Late medieval commentators distinguished several phases of the Virgin’s reaction to the appearance of Gabriel and the news, from initial alarm at the sudden vision, followed by reluctance to fulfill the role, to a final acceptance. These are reflected in art by the Virgin’s posture and expression. In this unique piece we can clearly see that Mary seems to be surprised, almost rejecting the Gabriel’s announcement.
Very often Gabriel is posed at a respectful distance from Mary, separated by a real or pictured architectural detail such as a column. Here Gabriel’s hand is raised as a gesture of blessing; behind him we can see the symbol of virgin purity, the white Lilly.
As in most annunciation scenes we can see, on the top left, God resealing a dove, representation of the Holy Spirit.