Pino Blasone

Space and Time of the Annunciation

Mary at the Well

Anonym, Venice: Basilica of San Marco, 11th century As to the iconography of the Annunciation, in the history of art we have a few different typologies. For instance, that of Saint Mary at the well or by a fountain is one of the most ancient. The pertinent literary source is an apocryphal or non canonical text, the Gospel of Saint James, also known as Infancy Gospel of James or Protoevangelium of James. There, we can read a nice description of the event which gave rise to a new religion: She took the pitcher, and went out to fill it with water. And, behold, a voice saying: “Hail, thou who hast received grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women!” And she looked round, on the right hand and on the left, to see whence this voice came. And she went away, trembling, to her house, and put down the pitcher; and taking the

purple, she sat down on her seat, and drew it out. And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood before her, saying: “Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found grace before the Lord of all, and thou shalt conceive, according to His word.” And she hearing, reasoned with herself, saying: “Shall I conceive by the Lord, the living God? And shall I bring forth as every woman brings forth?” And the angel of the Lord said: “Not so, Mary; for the power of the Lord shall overshadow thee: wherefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of the Most High. And thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” And Mary said: “Behold, the servant of the Lord before His face: let it be unto me according to thy word.” [1]

Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Liverpool: Lady Lever Art Gallery, 1879 Surely this is a minor tradition. According to it, the episode happened outdoors at a first moment; indoors, in a second time. The spring-water may have a relevance as a prefiguration of the holy baptism. A far better known version of the same story is narrated in the canonical Gospel of Luke, where we can find a vague indoor setting, that is without any
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further detail. Most artists, who dealt with such a subject, were inspired by the latter narration.[2] Nevertheless we have so called “Annunciations at the Well” in the PalaeoChristian, in the Byzantine, in the Russian, even in the Armenian figurative art. So made representations are rare in Western Europe, both in a Catholic or Protestant area. Few of them are modern. At least, they show a philological interest, like some paintings in the PreRaphaelite 19th century style. Recent examples are a painting in the Church of the Annunciation at Nazareth, where the tradition is still popular, and a relief by the sculptor Luigi Mattei, on the “Holy Door” of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore at Rome (2001).

Michelangelo Buonarroti, London: British Museum, 1547 More interesting is a study of Michelangelo Buonarroti (1547), today at the British Museum in London. This work was never completed. It is an indistinct sketch. However the composition is so similar to some Byzantine models, that we might include it in the number of the “Annunciations at the Well”. In Michelangelo’s drawing, a standing Virgin is leaning by an arm on something, which actually looks a well. A small angel, flying down from the
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sky, whispers his announcement to her ear. Unfortunately, we have no Annunciation painted by Buonarroti. We have also a different sketch by him, more refined and traditional as composition. There, the scene is presumably set in an interior. As a preparatory study, it was developed by another Italian artist: Marcello Venusti. The final result (1555) may be watched in the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano at Rome. It is a good piece of painting. Indeed, it is not the masterpiece we could expect from the hand of Michelangelo himself. Mary in the Temple

Barthélemy d’Eyck, Aix-en-Provence: Church of St. Madeleine, 1444 When I abode in the temple of God and received my food from an angel, on a certain day there appeared unto me one in the likeness of an angel, but his face was incomprehensible, and he had not in his hand bread or a cup, as did the angel which came to me aforetime. And straightway the veil of the temple was rent and there was a very great earthquake, and I fell upon the earth, for I was not able to endure the sight of him. But he put his hand beneath me and raised me up, and I looked up into heaven and there came a cloud of dew and sprinkled me from the head to the feet, and he wiped me with his robe. And said unto me: “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the chosen vessel, grace inexhaustible.” And he smote his garment upon the right hand and there came a very great
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loaf, and he set it upon the altar of the temple and did eat of it first himself, and gave unto me also. And again he smote his garment upon the left hand and there came a very great cup full of wine; and he set it upon the altar of the temple and did drink of it first himself, and gave also unto me. And I beheld and saw the bread and the cup whole as they were. And he said unto me: “Yet three years, and I will send my word unto thee and then shalt conceive a son, and through him shall the whole creation be saved. Peace be unto thee, my beloved, and my peace shall be with thee continually.” [3]

Jan van Eyck, New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, circa 1420 This here above is the account of a peculiar Annunciation, which Mary makes to the Apostles in another apocryphal text. While the Gospel of James is essentially concordant with that of Luke on the same subject, in this Gospel of Bartholomew we meet remarkable differences, and some Gnostic influences. But what here we care is the setting of the venue. That is in the “Temple of God”. There is an actual ancient tradition, according to which the girl was brought up in that holy place, spinning or weaving for the demands of the worship. Such a tradition influenced the iconography, so that we have Annunciations set in a place like a synagogue or a church, especially in the Flemish or Provençal art of the 15 th
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century. The most famous are those of Jan van Eyck and of Barthélemy d’Eyck, respectively in the National Gallery of Art at Washington and in the Church of St. Madeleine at Aix-en-Provence. In the hands of the Virgin, we may discern no longer a jar, nor a spin. Now a book emphasizes her literacy and the religious education she had received in the temple. According to Catherine of Siena, Mary herself is “Temple of the Trinity”.

Jean Fouquet, Chantilly: Musée Condé, half of the 15th century Another impressive painting by Van Eyck is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art at New York. There, Mary is depicted at the door of a building, resembling a Gothic cathedral. The announcing Archangel Gabriel is walking to her from outside. They are facing one another between a sacred place which is historical, and a divine space, that is everywhere and of any time. The absolute being and a contingent, human time, are going to meet and to communicate through the person of the Annunciate. She herself becomes such a door: in Latin, Ianua caeli, “Door of the Heaven”. But we can imagine her also as a threshold,

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through which a messianic request enters this world giving it a dynamical impulse, what may turn true for any instant of the life as well as for the whole of history. Holy space and sacred place return to coincide in a miniature of the French painter Jean Fouquet, in the “Book of Hours” by Étienne Chevalier, at the Musée Condé of Chantilly. In reality, the picture portrays the interior of the Sainte Chapelle at Bourges. There, so much sunlight shines through the windows, that the church looks almost transparent, with no shade on the floor. The angel is kneeling to the Virgin, sitting on a carpet. By her, we may see two books: the Old and the New Testament. The former is closed, the latter is open. Thanks to the holy Conception, the transition to a new age is born. Mary in the Garden

Beato Angelico, Madrid: Prado Museum, 1432
“Along the garden walk, and thence/ Through the wicket in the garden fence/ I steal

with quiet pace,/ My pitcher at the well to fill,/ That lies so deep and cool and still/ In this sequestered place.// These sycamores keep guard around;/ I see no face, I hear no sound,/ Save bubblings of the spring,/ And my companions, who, within,/ The threads of gold and scarlet spin,/ And at their labor sing” [4]: such a verse begin the poem Mary at the Well, by the United States poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. What is a nice attempt to conciliate
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the tradition of the “Annunciation at the Well” with the biblical appellative “Fenced Garden”, not seldom referred to the Madonna. So, we can better discover she is not only Ianua caeli and Sedes sapientiae or Rosa mystica, as in the Litaniae Lauretanae, but also a Hortus conclusus (Song of Songs, 4:12). This Latin metaphor is allusive to her virginity; yet its sense may well be wider, like that we can listen to in the ritual prayer of the Angelus.

Giovanni di Paolo, Washington: National Gallery of Art, circa 1435 In fact the “Fenced Garden” is also that Paradise lost which the Virgin, as a “Second Eve”, contributes to open again to our hopes. Such an interpretation is explicit in some Annunciations depicted in the 15th century by the Beato Angelico (particularly, that one in the Prado Museum at Madrid) and by Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia (today, in the National Gallery of Art at Washington). Yet it is even quoted by Edward Coley Burne-Jones and by Rupert Charles Wulsten Bunny, in the background of two paintings of the 19 th century, respectively in the Lady Lever Art Gallery at Liverpool and in the Art Gallery of South Australia at Adelaide. At least in the works of the early Italian Renaissance artists mentioned here above, as so conceived, the scene of the garden is not a mere space setting. It becomes a narrative suggestion, concerning the sacred history in the Christian civilization. Furthermore, let us observe that in each of these cases we have two angels: the announcing one, in the
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foreground; in the background, the latter is expelling Adam and Eve from the Eden. This one reminds us a terrible side of the angelical essence, like that of the angel announcing the coming of the Last Judgment, in the Bible’s book of the Apocalypse by John.

Leonardo da Vinci, Florence: Uffizi Gallery, 1475 Of course Annunciations merely set in a garden are not lacking, as a modern one by John William Waterhouse, painted in 1914 and today included in the private collection Sotheby. The garden can be a court or a porch too, that is a middle place between an inner and an outer view, like in other celebrated ones by Fra Angelico. Even when the setting is internal, often an open window or door gives us a chance to admire external landscapes, where a gracious tree may allude to a biblical prophecy (that is the “Tree of Jesse”; Isaiah, 11:1) usually applied to Mary herself by the Christian exegesis. Probably the most charming Annunciation, that of Leonardo da Vinci in the Uffizi Gallery at Florence (1475), is set in the full open air. There the garden is not occluded at all. Our gaze is let free to range into an infinite scenery, natural and human at once. The latter – a harbour – may be discerned as a remote background of the scene in the foreground, so that nature works like an intermediary between the holy event and men’s activity. While the Angelico was looking back at a religious past, Leonardo’s vision is a progressive one. His angel is already a messenger of the modernity, though at the centre of a pantheistic horizon. In 1501 Christopher Columbus, the conventional initiator of the Modern Age, in his Libro de las profecias will use about the same terms of the Annunciation, to exalt his enterprise in crossing the “Sea of Darkness” and reaching the “Indies” as the start of a new era.

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Mary at Home

Rogier van der Weyden, Paris: Musée du Louvre, circa 1440 When that the angel Gabriel was sent for to show the incarnation of our Saviour Jesu Christ, he found her alone, enclosed in her chamber, like as St. Bernard saith, in which the maidens and virgins ought to abide in their houses, without running abroad out openly, and they ought also to flee the words of men, of which their honour and good renomee might be lessed or hurt. And the angel said to the glorious Virgin Mary: “I salute thee, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.” [5] This is the exordium of a narration of the Annunciation in the Golden Legend, compiled by Jacobus de Voragine, archbishop of Genoa in the 13th century. The book was almost a best-seller. It reflects the prevalent mentality in the late Middle Ages and had a large influence upon the iconography of the time. Generally, the idealization of Mary did not correspond with a better women’s consideration. Jung has sadly related it to the witchhunt, on the opposite side. No woman on earth, but a saint or an angel-like one, could faintly compete with the model of the Mother of God. Long after, Madonnas and even angels will return to be more human: seldom too much, as in Caravaggio’s and Artemisia Gentileschi’s paintings. The Annunciations were mirrors of the times; sometimes, more properly, of those to come.
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Lorenzo Lotto, Recanati: Pinacoteque, circa 1527 No wonder that most Annunciations depicted in the past were set at home, peculiarly within Virgin’s chamber. Mary herself was portrayed as “timorous and abashed” at first, because of the miraculous apparition and the disconcerting words pronounced by the angel. At least from Simone Martini to the Beato Angelico, at the same time a fabulous atmosphere pervades their representations. Seldom the angel is pointing with an index at heaven, or holds a hand out as if bestowing a benediction. Sometimes both Gabriel and the Madonna are kneeling one in front of other, so as suggested by the late medieval text Meditationes Christi Vitae, 4th chapter. More often he is kneeling before her, with an attitude of deference and an homage of lilies in his hands. Or the flowers may be in a vase, which is symbol of the Virgin as Vas electionis, “Chosen Vessel” in a spiritual and biblical sense. Yet usually a stem of lilies and a book signify purity and wisdom together.

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Especially in the Flemish and Provençal art, the interior of the house is depicted with a realism of details, that may serve as a witness about the age when the painters were operating. A kind of horror vacui indeed, but also a show of welfare and a disclosure of the female dimension of life. The space concentrates into a room, whereas in Italy it indulges in sumptuous inside architectures. Space and time of these Annunciations are here and now, whereas the Byzantine projection of the event had been out of the time and of the space. In any case, nothing better than an Annuciation picture works as a temporal window.

Paul Rubens, Antwerp: Rubens House, circa 1628 The golden empty background of the Byzantine lesson, an ascetic bareness of the cells of Fra Angelico, look almost only a memory since this full Renaissance period. We have to wait for such poor interiors as those of the French painter James Jacques Joseph Tissot or the Afro-American artist Henry Ossawa Tanner, in the 19th century, to be reminded that Luke’s Gospel Annunciation was the social denunciation of the Magnificat too (“[God] hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their
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hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away”). There, the figure of the angel will be so reduced, as to become a luminous shape. Meanwhile, we may enjoy delightful scenes of domestic intimacy, like those of Lorenzo Lotto, Gianfrancesco Bembo, Federico Barocci, Jean de Beer, Peter Paul Rubens, the Tintoretto, the Sansovino. In all these cases, a new character comes to animate the event with its animal presence. Indeed, it was already present in an Annunciation by Fra Angelico. It is a cat, sleeping or watching but springing aside in the painting by Lotto, as frightened by the supernatural intrusion of the angel. In such a pet someone saw a devilish allegory, what frankly sounds suitable to a fairy tale. More plausibly, it expresses the everyday tempo of life, faced by the announced renewal of the times (in the apocryphal tradition of the holy Nativity that caesura is so stressed, as to appear a worldwide “cosmic suspension”). In a very symbolic way, Mary must choose between that unheimlich angel and this homely companion. Announcing in the Dark

Guido Reni, Ascoli Piceno: Marche Region Museum, 1628 (detail)

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The virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Then said Mary unto the angel, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” And the angel answered and said unto her, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” [6] Last but not least, what we have just read is the only canonical version of the Annunciation to the Virgin, by St. Luke. He was a physician, close collaborator of St. Paul. Yet there is no fatalistic predestination in his words. The assent of the woman whose “name was Mary”, to be a “handmade of the Lord”, is fruit of a pensive choice, though she has “found favour with God”. That is reflecting the human free will and respecting a moral decision, in the perspective of the religious redemption as well as of a secular civilization, what was already clear to the 14th century German mystic Meister Eckhart. Before him, Bernard of Clairvaux and Thomas of Aquino had focused on the free consent by the Ancilla Domini. For absurd, Bernard even presumes a possible different choice (Homiliae, IV 8-9).

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Anonym, Correggio: Civic Museum, 17th century (photomontage) The dialogue of the Annunciation is an interior dialectic too, between a deep unconscious and an anticipatory conscience; or between an announcing Self and a renouncing Ego, if a nearly religious terminology is preferred. Here we like to call them Animus, the Archangel, and Anima, the Virgin herself, after a well known psychological theory by Carl Gustav Jung. Let us see which representations better work with such a hermeneutical key. So, we could have one typology more, which might be named “Animus and Anima Annunciations”. In this case they ought to be somewhat more than a male and a female archetypes, and the resulting Self might well be an “Other of the Other”.[7] If a gold uniform background was the most holy one, likely a dark one is better evocative of the depths of the psyche. The first compositions in such a sense are two Virgin Annunciate by Antonello da Messina, respectively in the Pinacoteque of Munich (1473) and in the National Museum at Palermo (ca. 1476). They are so radical in representing an already modern soul, that the angel is cut off from the view. We can infer his virtual presence out of the frame. What is with no body loses its figure too. One of the two Virgins is looking at us, as to mean that we are not entirely extraneous with the current mystery nor with her future drama. Despite a gleam of its own or reflected light, the dark background reminds us the noche oscura of the Spanish mystic Juan de la Cruz.

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Actually another wonderful Virgin Annunciate by Bernardo Cavallino (1650), today in the National Gallery of Victoria at Melbourne, looks terribly alone: more a Lady of Sorrows than an ecstatic Annunciate. Otherwise, not rarely Gabriel and Mary are depicted on two distinct panels, for contingent or voluntary reasons that sometimes made them travel to separate residences all over the world. In these cases we have to seek and recompose them, in order to realize their intimate correspondence. Are they two faces of the same person? The answer is inevitably subjective. For example, in a Nativity Annunciation by the Chinese living painter He Qi, Mary is combing her hair in front of a mirror, when an angel comes out from it, bearing a flower in his hand.

Anonym, Rome: Private Collection, 17th century (detail) Finally, we can survey a sequence, where such a convergence is particularly evident. Let us focus on Guido Reni’s Annunciation in the Marche Region Museum at Ascoli Piceno (1628). There is no uniform background, but a well lighted room, an open window, a country landscape. The figures of the angel and of the Virgin are very symmetrical, nearly specular. So much, as to influence some followers or imitators of Reni. They are an Emilian Anonym, whose Announcing Angel and Virgin Annunciate are in the Civic Museum of Correggio, and Giovan Battista Salvi, nicknamed the Sassoferrato, with his Archangel Gabriel and Virgin Annunciate in the Pinacoteque of Cesena.
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In a private collection at Rome, we may find the same elements, rejoined into one picture by another unknown author. Moreover, we may notice the same effect, by confronting an Angel and a Virgin of the Annunciation by Reni himself, both in the Landesmuseum at Oldenburg. In all these cases, an archetypal correspondence between Gabriel and Mary is shown up by a dark background. Yet, mostly the Madonna is looking downward, just like scanning a vision inside her soul. There, reliably the first “Joyful Mystery” meets with a presage of the “Sorrowful Mysteries” of the holy Rosary. A Removal of the Angel

Bernardo Cavallino, Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 1650 Just only an afterword, about who is announcing and what is announced. There is no doubt, art can be a precocious form of anticipatory conscience. The removal of the angel in the pertinent compositions by Antonello or later by Cavallino, we dare to say, was an indirect announcement of the imminent modernity. But, which kind of it? Maybe, according to Leonardo, could this modernity be different from what has been? Or else, actually it has been something other than its “Enlightened” perception we were used to.
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Someone might wonder where such an exiled and silenced angel has gone today. Certainly, his shadow has returned into many further Annunciation representations. In this field, the choice is incredibly wide, as abundant in repetition as rich in differences. For instance, in the Annunciation by the Caravaggio (Nancy, Musée des Beaux Arts, ca. 1608) we cannot see the entire face of the angel, for he keeps hidden most of it, as if aware and sorry for his being a herald both of joy and of sorrow. Yet the most up-to-date vision of him may be read in a passage from On the Concept of History by Walter Benjamin, an unlucky thinker of the 20th century. He refers to a watercolour by the contemporary artist Paul Klee: There is a painting by Klee called Angelus Novus. It shows an angel who seems about to move away from something he stares at. His eyes are wide, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how the angel of history must look. His face is turned toward the past. Where a chain of events appears before us, he sees one single catastrophe, which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it at his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise and has got caught in his wings; it is so strong that the angel can no longer close them. This storm drives him irresistibly into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows toward the sky. What we call progress is this storm. [8]

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Antonello da Messina, Munich: Alte Pinakothek, 1473 The theme here in question has inspired few modern writers, but with so various results, that we might argue a philosophy of the Annunciation. Let us listen to Simone Weil in La pesanteur et la grâce, published in 1948 after her death: In everything which gives us the pure authentic feeling of beauty there really is the presence of God. There is as it were an incarnation of God in the world and it is indicated by beauty. The beautiful is the experimental proof that the incarnation is possible. Hence all art of the highest order is religious in essence. (That is what people have forgotten today). [9] In 1902 Rainer Maria Rilke had issued the poem Annunciation: Words of the Angel. There, a too long silent Gabriel speaks to Mary again. And these are his last recorded words: “You are not nearer God than we;/ he’s far from everyone./ And yet your hands most wonderfully/ reveal his benison./ From woman’s sleeves none ever grew/ so ripe, so shimmeringly:/ I am the day, I am the dew;/ you, Lady, are the Tree./ Pardon, now my long journey’s done,/ I had forgot to say/ what he who sat as in the sun,/ grand in his gold array,/ told me to tell you, pensive one/ (space has bewildered me)./ I am the start of what’s begun;/
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you, Lady, are the Tree”.[10] Perhaps, the angel of the Angelico, of Leonardo, of Klee, was the art itself; the dream of the “pensive one” was an utopian world, where history too would be “religious in essence”.

Antonello da Messina, Palermo: National Museum, circa 1476 Like music, art is an universal language, a visual form of ekphrasis or expressive description. It cannot be said exactly the same of iconography, since conditioned by local traditions. The Annunciation seems to be an exception. Its wide recurring renderings may be considered variations on a basic theme, implicit in the act of announcing. This essence is the space of time, as well as a parousia of the Other, nay a representation of the “wholly Other” according to the theologian Rudolf Bultmann. In the Old and in the New Testament, even in the Koran, Gabriel is mainly the angel of Annunciation and of Revelation. Its main time is the future. The “detail” that he comes from eternity is the leaven of the future itself. Thinkers as Walter Benjamin or his friend Ernst Bloch were not wrong, in interpreting the

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modernity as a laic extension of a messianic time. It depends on what we mean for laicism: a banal negation, or rather the negation of a negation; that is a new critical expectation. Copyright pinoblasone@yahoo.com 2008 [1] Protoevangelium of James, Chapter 11, English translation from ancient Greek edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, in Apocryphal Gospels, Acts and Revelations: Ante Nicene Christian Library Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A. D. 325, Part XVI, Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2004. Cf. the Chapter 18, where it may be read a fine example of “cosmic suspension”, coinciding with the birth of Jesus. [2] Cf. P. Blasone, Nonostante Raffaello. Altre Annunciazioni, at the Web address http://www.scribd.com/doc/2531989/Nonostante-Raffaello-Altre-Annunciazioni or http://geocities.com/pinoblasone/annunciazioni.htm (with an international bibliography). [3] Gospel of Bartholomew, 2:15-20, in The Apocryphal New Testament, translation and notes by James Montague Rhodes, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924 (and 1993, edited by J. K. Elliott). [4] Henry W. Longfellow, Mary at the Well, in The Nativity: A Miracle-Play, in the Collection Christus: A Mystery, Part II: The Golden Legend, 1872 (in The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Laurel, NY: Lightyear Press, 1993). Longfellow’s Golden Legend was illustrated in 1910 by the English painter Sidney Harold Meteyard, whose picture Mary at the Well is to be mentioned here. As to the English literature, let us remind also the poems dedicated to the Annunciation by John Donne, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and by Edwin Muir. [5] Jacobus de Voragine, Golden Legend or Lives of the Saints, Chapter 51, translated from Latin by William Caxton (First Edition, 1483), edited by F. S. Ellis, London: J. M. Dent & Co., 1900, 1922, 1931. [6] Gospel of Luke, 1:27-38, King James Version, 1611. The Evangelist was told to have been a painter too, author of a portrait of Mary. This legend sounds so nice and “true”, that we like to imagine it might have been the first painted Annunciation or Annunciate. Anyhow, let us read the original Greek text: the initial phrase εἰσέλθων πρὸς αὐτήν (“having come in to her”), referred to the angel, suggests an internal or inmost setting of the scene. And let us listen to the Magnificat (1:46-55), when firstly the Jewish girl speaks as an outstanding Madonna. [7] Peculiarly for a comparison between the figure of the Virgin Mary and the concept of Anima, cf. Psychological Types (Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 6), translated by Gerhard Adler and R. F. C. Hull, Princeton University Press, 1976; V, 4 a. A couple of allusions to the Annunciation recur in The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud, but an original development of the psychoanalytic pertinent view may rather be found in the works of the French thinkers Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray. [8] Walter Benjamin, On the Concept of History (1940), translated by Harry Zohn in Selected Writings, Vol. 4, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003; from Gesammelte Schriften I, Frankfurt am Main: SuhrkampVerlag, 1974, pp. 691-704. [9] Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, translated by Emma Crawford and Mario von der Ruhr from La pesanteur et la grâce, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1992; p. 137.
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[10] Rainer M. Rilke, Verkündigung (Die Worte des Engels), in the collection Das Buch der Bilder, in Ausgewählte Gedichte, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkampf Verlag, 1973; p. 9 (translated by James Blair Leishman in Rilke: Poems, New York: Everyman’s Library, 1996).

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