The Annunciation to the Virgin in her room

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The Annunciation to the Virgin in her room. Engraving by CJ Visscher (?). Bible. NT Luke 126–35. The Virgin holds her hand to her left breast and rests her other hand upon the book. Behind the bed there lies a tomb, upon which rests a lamp, a book and two inscribed stone tablets. In the centre of the clouds is the sign for Jahweh The attitudes and postures of the Virgin and the angel have varied significantly and even interchanged in Christian iconography. The plethora of differing images of the Annunciation provides a real insight into the history of emotion and its representation in gesture. The variations of the Virgin's posture provide much of the interest. Her hand is usually active; sometimes she is intently studying, sometimes she is in a gesture of almost carnal surprise. She may be glorified, or on the other hand she may kneel. Then the angel varies in relation to her: he might kneel before her. After the Council of Trent, the angel was set in the air, "reacting against", as Réau suggests, "the excessive 'familiarity' of religious art of the 15th century". On these issues, see L Réau, 'Iconographie de l'art chrétien'. Presses Universitaires de France: Paris, 1957, vol 2, book 2, pp. 178–187 (particularly p 182). Lilies. Hand – Religious aspects. Christianity. Women in Christianity. Angels. Childbirth – Religious aspects. Reading. Plants – Religious aspects. Beds. Tombs. God. Clouds. Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Annunciation. Work ID: bffv9qy9.

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