The Annunciation is an early Renaissance painting by Fra Angelico. This painting depicts a very famous and important moment of biblical moments, known by Christians as the time when Gabriel, the angel, went to Virgin Mary to inform her that she will somehow, soon conceive the baby Jesus. The Annunciation is a very important moment in biblical art due to to the ‘prelude to Christian’s Lord and Savior’ being present in the painting in a human form. So, the overall idea of the painting is very common and understood not only by Christians, but i would say by people globally because of this very important moment within religion. However, there are deeper meanings towards the characters and in particular, the presence of the angels.
Through researching into this painting and the variations of characters, i have discovered that both in Islamic and Christian surrounding art, sexualised representations of human bodies were basically completely forbidden. When characters were to be presented in a very sexualised form, the characters or characteristics would be completely eliminated. This is where my research into androgynous characters within Renaissance art is really considered. Angels, such as Gabriel here were the most androgynous figures presented in western art. The soft colours and curves within the walls are an obvious characteristic of Renaissance art and how they are brought forward to create a sort of gentleness for the intense theme that is on going. To go alongside this gentleness, angels would be made very androgynous or genderless to indicate their lack of sexual consciousness and from art historians comments, to possibly encourage the same to those of Christian faith.
I think the painting is really strong in suggesting an atmosphere from this moment in biblical art with how it has been painted. The stillness of the image highlights how Mary would have felt with the news and how careful the angel, Gabriel would have been delivering it. Mary does not seem to look troubled which also highlights this mood of gentleness and softness, if anything her expression seems accepting. I also really like how the colours are so delicate and pale and reflect one another in each outfit or location point. For example, the angel’s robe subtly coordinates with Mary’s headband or how Mary’s top half blends against the background wall. Overall, the entire mood of the painting acts still with movement with a really calming presence; another reflection upon typical Renaissance art. I should take this along with the idea of androgyny into consideration and possibly look further into androgyny throughout the Renaissance.