Masolino da Panicale
Вашингтон: гал. Нац.
Andrew W. Mellon collection
15th-century viewers of this Annunciation would have recognized not only its general subject, but also the particular moment Masolino chose to paint.
Street preachers gave vivid accounts of Gabriel's message to Maria about Christ's birth, and audiences would also have seen the Annunciation reenacted on its feast day.
In Florence, Brunelleschi designed an apparatus to lower an actor portraying Gabriel from the cathedral dome, as young children dressed as angels hung suspended in rigging.
Events in the drama took place in sequence.
Maria was first startled at the angel's sudden appearance; she reflected on his message and queried Gabriel about her fitness; finally, kneeling, she submitted to God's will.
Here Maria's downcast eyes and musing gesture - hand resting tentatively on Her breast - suggest the second, and most often depicted, of these stages: reflection.
As did actors in the religious plays, artists used gesture and posture to communicate states of mind.
Tempera (and possibly oil glazes) on panel.
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