Wednesday, March 3, 2010
( Annunciation )
created in 2002
photograph by E. G. Schempf
Feast day 25 March
The Annunciation has been celebrated since the sixth century. Pope Sergius I set the feast day exactly nine months prior to the nativity of Christ. An existing third-century image of the Annunciation within the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome appears to be the earliest depiction of the event. Biblical and Apocryphal information about Archangel Gabriel's visitation to the Virgin Mary can be found in St. Luke's Gospel, 1:26-38, and Protoevanguelium of James, 11,1-3.
I have chosen to depict the Virgin Mary's response, "Ecce Ancilla Domini," Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.
Having dropped her spinning yarn, the Virgin Mary reaches across with her right hand to touch her left shoulder in a sign of acceptance. She sets aside the assignment to weave a veil for the Ark of the Covenant out of purple and scarlet fabric. Her eyes are raised toward the white dove hovering below a blue disk which symbolizes the Holy Spirit in the heavenly realm.
I have clothed the Virgin Mary in a red maphorian (long veil worn over the head and shoulders). Red denotes sacrifice. Her gown is blue which represents essential humanity. On the front of the bodice of her gown is a beaded gold circle surrounding the letters IC XC, (the one who is) which alludes to God the Son is in her womb.
The lily has come to symbolize Mary's purity.
In Russia, people used to set birds free from cages on this feast day.