Culture Magazine

Friday 1st December: The Annunciation

By Kirsty Stonell Walker @boccabaciata
Well, it's that time again!  Welcome to Blogvent 2017, and this year's theme will be images of the Virgin Mary.  When I announced this to my 11 year old daughter, she looked at me quizzically and said 'What's a Virgin? I don't think I've met any...' which is a damning indictment of our neighbourhood.  As far as Lily-Rose was concerned 'Virgin' is a broadband provider but she knows better now.  I'm sure she'll come back with more questions when she's had a think about it...
Anyway, let's crack on with VirginVent!  And let's never refer to it as 'VirginVent' ever again as that seems somehow very wrong.

Friday 1st December: The Annunciation

The Annunciation (1887) George Hitchcock

Here we have Mary, pottering about in the lilies, awaiting being taken by surprise by some chap with wings.  She is as tall and stately as the lilies, her cloudy-coloured gown topped by her white headdress, echoing the flowers.  The scarf around her head seems to be a bit like a halo, white and diaphanous. She is as pure and lovely as the flowers, highlighting her specialness, her otherness.  It's unusual to see the annunciation without an angel.  Maybe the angel is implied in the flowers, which all reach sort of womb-height.  Then again he might be hiding behind the hedge.  We do love a hedge-lurker, especially a holy hedge-lurker.

Friday 1st December: The Annunciation

Calypso (c.1906)

George Hitchcock (1850-1913) is not someone we've met here very often.  An American by birth, his heart seems to have been in Europe and he worked in Paris and the Netherlands, where he lived for many years. He seems to have drawn some inspiration from Pre-Raphaelite art, for example I find an echo of Rossetti's lilies in his annunciation works, and also in works like Pandora.

Friday 1st December: The Annunciation

Pandora (c.1895)

He has a very delicate palette, each of his beautiful paintings powdery and gentle.  This also wasn't the only time he painted the Virgin Mary, as seen in The Blessed Mother...

Friday 1st December: The Annunciation

The Blessed Mother (1892)

I can't think of a nicer way to start our blogvent, and look forward to the next few weeks and lots of halos, wings and babies. And absolutely shed-loads of lilies.
See you tomorrow!

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