Wednesday, March 10, 2010
created in 2003
photograph taken by E.G. Schempf
mixed media fabrics, leather and hand beading
Feast Day 29 September
Patron of telecommunications and postal workers, philatelists, diplomats, messengers, and ambassadors
invoked during childbirth
Gabriel is one of the two highest ranking angels in Judeo-Christian and Mohammedan religious lore. He is the archangel of annunciation, resurrection, mercy, vengeance, death, and revelation.
In the Old Testament, Gabriel interprets Daniel's visions, (Daniel 8: 15-27, 9: 20-27). Gabriel appears next in the New Testament to announce the birth of John the Baptist to Zachariah, (Luke 1: 11-20). Again within the book of Luke, (1: 26-38), he visits Mary in Nazarene which becomes the scene of the Annunciation.
It was Jibril (Gabriel) who dictated the Koran, sutra by sutra, unto Mohammed. In Jewish legend death and destruction to the sinful cities of Sodom and Gommorah were dealt by Gabriel. Court testimony of Joan of Arc states that Gabriel inspired her to take up arms in the name of the King of France. As a guardian angel along with St. Michael, he shares the duties of hindering demons from entering churches.
Gabriel is usually depicted as a winged, beardless youth with a nimbus. In the Annunciation scene he wears a long tunic. His attributes are a kerykeion ( messenger's staff), lily, a scroll with the greeting to Mary: Ave Maria, gratia plena ( Hail Mary, full of grace), and sometimes a unicorn.
I have chosen to depict Gabriel during the Annunciation scene. He stands at the right hand of Mary making the sign of Heaven and Earth with his left hand lowered toward earth and his right lifted towards heaven. This sign implies that he has descended from heaven for a brief visit and also calls on heaven and earth to witness what will transpire with Mary. Gabriel's eyes are also lifted towards heaven expressing his concern that the will of God shall be done.
He is clothed in a tunic, chlamys (mantle with clasp at the shoulder), and a diadem ( ornamental headband worn as a badge of royalty).