Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I almost posted the same icon as last year because it is so beautiful.

Instead, I am posting this one from the same online collection of Coptic art. It is less beautiful in the classic sense, but that's why I am posting it. Because it is less stylized --perhaps it is older-- and the figures look slightly more human, it forces upon us not so much the idea of the Annunciation as its reality. We all have Fra Angelico on the brain of course, we Westerners, and so in our mind's eye the Annunciation is full of delicacy and light.

But was it?

And what are our standards of beauty? Do we impose them on angels and on the mother of Jesus? What happens when an icon shows what appears to many of us a slighly lumpy, ungainly Mary? When the angel, despite the beautiful robe and the eye shadow, is not exactly smiling or serene?

What do our lives look like when the surprises of Godde land in them? Are they, and we, all smooth and round and radiant?


Fran said...

That is a gorgeous image and so evocative. Gorgeous due to its non-traditional beauty.

What you write says a lot about what we project and the expectations.

Which generally has little to do with real life and authenticity.

For one thing, I am aware that Mary was a semitic woman - not the little lady dressed in blue so glorified over the years.

I am linking to a post I wrote about the Annunciation (out of season!) and one of my favorite images of this.

Even if it is a blonde haired blue eyed one!!

Fran said...

We celebrated the solemnity today and I wrote about it here, which also includes the use of your the image from this post.