Sunday, 4 December 2016

Sunday 4th December - The Annunciation

I always think of images of the Annunciation at this time of year for some reason.  Probably because we are told the whole story from Angel Surprise to Donkey to Stable, all in one go.  For that reason, even though in theory all this happened back in the Spring (I know, humour me), Mary's pregnancy from Immaculate Conception to birth seems to last about a month.  Bring on the Annunciation pictures!

The Annunciation (1898) Robert Fowler
Well, if you will go wandering around in a field of lilies, this sort of thing is bound to happen. Mary, wearing a less traditional pink frock, has been surprised in a meadow by a red-winged Gabriel.  Again, we have the question of the red wings, but I'm guessing they are red mainly as a contrast to the white and green in the picture.  Just in case we were in any doubt, Gabriel is pointing up at God, answering the age old question 'Who's the Daddy?'  Blimey, it's like a festive edition of the Jeremy Kyle Show when you think about it. Unmarried couple turn up in the middle of the night, she's pregnant and the Father's friend was the one who gave her the news...

The Annunciation Frederick James Shield
Here's another point-y Gabriel - what's with all the pointing?  In all likelihood Mary is probably thinking 'So you don't think I'm bright enough to know where God lives but I'm okay carrying the Saviour of Mankind. Thanks for that.'

Robert Fowler and his magnificent moustache
So, to our chap Robert Fowler - born in Fife, he seems to be the Scottish Alma Tadema or Lord Leighton, spending his time in the British Museum being inspired by the Elgin Marbles.  His work is very reminiscent of theirs...
Dance of Salome (1885)
But then looking at his Angel Gabriel above, the handling of paint is much freer and not so polished and Academy.  Although I always like the clean, crisp drapery of Victorian classical, something about the soft focus pastel of his Annunciation reminds me of the illustrations I have in the Bible I was given on my Christening. I shall have to investigate who did the illustrations in my many and varied Bibles, heaven knows we have a few...

Birth of Venus (c.1890s)
Anyway, Robert Fowler is not a name I know well but I now would like to see some more of his stuff, especially if it is as pretty as his Birth of Venus.  Do you think the seagulls circling round her think she's got some chips?

Anyway, on that profound question I'm off to rest my aching feet after a day of walking around the Harry Potter Studio Tour for Lily's birthday (which is next week) and so I'll be with you again tomorrow...

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Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx