We’re off to Charleston today for the ordination of our new bishop. Do you like this painting of the Annunciation by Collier? Working with middle school girls it helps me to see the purity and power and grace of the Blessed Virgin in them.
I like the natural symbols in the picture. The door that only she can open, the window, the classical design of the architecture hinting that she who is the temple stands by a temple. The lilies and see how she stands on a welcome mat?
“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any one opens the door I will come in and dine with him and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
and are all abandonning your flock on a Solemnity!
I wonder what is on the menu? A two item meal methinks.
Interesting picture, as you say, Father. The book (schoolbook?) in her hands; she’s receiving both the word and the Word.Peace,–Peter
I think some might be scandalized by the “modernity,” but I like that. If you look at the great Renaissance painters, they don’t think twice to dress saints and angels in the attire of their century.
Speaking as one of the happy flock, we do not feel abandoned, au contraire; I, at least, think it fitting that the ordination of our new bishop should be on this important day, one which commemorates the heralding of the Good News which was to come. I think this ordination is also good news of things to come. I clicked on comments to say how much I like the picture Father has posted and instead felt compelled to defend our priests from the charge of abandonment of the flock. No doubt the smiling Mr. Elasser jests, but just in case…I hope everyone can of us, “abandonned” or not, can listen to the ordination at catholic-doc.org or watch at http://www.catholic-doc.org.
I adore this picture. It really introduced me to another aspect of the Blessed Virgin when you showed it to us in RCIA. I usually forget her age and the additional innocence attached to it when I think of her…this picture is so so beautiful.
I love it. It’s so real, even if its not. You know.
A beautiful picture.
I’m not enamoured of it, but I like it. The Angel Gabriel looks like the neighbourhood boy has grown wings and learned how to be very solemn; which is not a criticism. Heaven is innocence and children enter in with no problem. I like it.
Great depiction, and who could be scandalized? As if the original occurrence were every captured in a painting or photo. It’s always been interpreted, ostensibly by the Lucan evangelist himself. Either way, this beautiful work captures the astonishing cosmic “hush,” the moment before the Uncreated entered Creation by invitation…truly welcomed by one of us, in order to redeem us. Only she could have said that first “Fiat.” Shine on, Mary. Shine on.
I like this contemporary vision of a timeless story.
Archangel Gabriel looks a little “Matrix” like — not that that is a bad thing IMHO. A very interesting contemporary interpretation of the Annunciation to the BVM.
John Collier, the artist, describes his painting:This Annunciation is set in suburbia, but the symbolism is traditional. Mary is reading from Isaiah about the Virgin who conceives and bears a son. The lily represents her purity, and she is welcoming St. Gabriel.http://www.hillstream.com/annunciation.html
The picture took me aback at first….but as i looked at it more, i noticed that there are other houses in the neighbourhood, but that there is only one person and only one doorway at which the angel appears…only this one young girl can take that first step over the threshold of faith…though she is so young and unsuspecting, through her co-operation, her Fiat, all the inhabitants of the world,throughout history, can be saved. Hail Mary!
What a surprising, meaningful painting. I love it. I like the wind blowing her jumper, as the Spirit descends. And I like her untied laces… kinda like Moses’ holy ground, but she doesn’t have to take her shoes off! It’s all the more amazing to see the angel bow before a middle schooler.
By the way, did you see this news item?http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2009/03/25/2009-03-25_new_york_palace_hotel_boss_niklaus_leuen.html
Wonderful! I love the realism.
This is a great painting. I watched it download and was so impressed. Thank you.
This is really cool… It gives you a modern understanding… and and accuracy of age I might add… very cool! I like your picking up on those symbols.None of those symbols beg problem with me, but I am experiencing sort of a recurrence of my negative feelings to what I feel deep in my heart are over-emphasis on the Mother and a lack of attention due the Son.-g-
Very fine picture.
I have the feeling the mat suggests she is set apart.
I hate to be the art critic, but this piece has never done anything for me. The modern setting is not an issue at all. But in a lot of ways it feels clunky. I’m not the best at explaining the particulars of art, but Vitruvian Duck does a rather incisive dissection of the painting. He’s a little bombastic but effective.It’s a nice idea, but it really just doesn’t do it for me at all.
Hello AllThank you for your comments on my painting; and thanks to Father Longenecker for posting it. . I think I could spend the rest of my life painting and sculpting this subject and remain quite happy. Perhaps you would like to see my sculptural Annunciation? It is at http://www.hillstream.comSincerely,John Collier
Well, it’s an interesting concept, but I have to say that the jumper and the saddle shoes are hideous. I realize the renaissance painters also painted their subjects in contemporary clothing, but the difference between their paintings and this one is that their clothes were actually beautiful. I have a hard time visualizing Mary as a frumpy school girl. And really, we do have SOME modern clothing that might do more justice to the loveliness of our lady.
I like the picture very much. It speaks truth, yet it misses something important. The Theotokos shown as a school girl fails to remind us that she was of a priestly line, like Tamar, Oholibamah, Asenath and Zipporah – all types pointing us to the Blessed Virgin Mother.
Dear Alice,Thank you for your comment. Yes, I agree with you. In fact , most of those who have problems with my painting are along those lines– it makes Mary seem less than she is. The problem for any artist who loves this subject as much as I do is, ” how to make a single painting that says everything?” It can’t be done. With my Annunciation I have tried to do a simple thing. I have tried to call our attention to the fact that Mary was VERY young and very much like us. If we ran into her in a supermarket we probably would think she was no one special. We might not regard the lowliness of this handmaiden. Don’t get me wrong, I love the historical paintings of Our Lady with all her finery. They say important things. I will be painting such pictures in the future myself; but they too are inadequate. They hold her at a distance. In them she isn’t one of us. There are plenty of those paintings; but very few of Mary the eighth grader. Thanks John
John, The painting is lovely and touching for exactly the reasons you explain.Portraying Mary as a young virgin in a Priestly line is something I have pondered. How would it be done? Would viewers even understand what they were seeing? And there are dangers, as one wouldn’t want to give the impression that Mary was a priest herself. Grant no ground to that foolish notion!
Hello AliceThat is a good idea for a paining. I am not familier with any such painting, which makes me want to remember the this for the future. Attention to Mary’s decent from a priestly line ( again as you say not to promote the idea of Mary as a priest) could possibly be portrayed by elaborating on the Visitation. In the painting Zachariah in priestly garments together with Elizabeth could be shown. As with all art, some knowledge is needed to understand what is going on but it might work. Anyway, just an idea. Also, I found this helpful http://www.catholic-convert.com/Portals/0/JoachiimAPriest.pdfJohn
Forgive me AliceI didn’t realize that you might be the famous and brave Alice C. Linsley. God bless you for your witness. John
I hope that you will one day paint such a work. I will pray for your inspiration.Thank you for the link. I found that very interesting. Steve Ray is on the mark! As an Orthodox in the Antiochian Church, I tend to look for the big patterns in Scripture. The big pattern presents Mary as a virgin in a Priestly line. It is the pattern that God set in place so that we don’t miss the Incarnation of Messiah, the fulfillment of God’s first promise in Gen. 3. Perhaps you’d be interested in reading about this here: http://jandyongenesis.blogspot.com/2009/03/daughters-of-priests.htmlThe priestly houses intermarried from Gen. 4 through the time of Jesus. Here is a diagram that shows the kinship pattern: http://jandyongenesis.blogspot.com/2009/03/sheba-lines-of-ham-and-shem.htmlWhen you finally do paint this, please let me know.
John, I’m no one extraordinary in any sense, but thank you for your kind words.I wanted to comment about Steve Ray’s thoughts on Mary’s priestly lineage.1. He said, “Joachim had flocks but that is no preclusion from him being a priest” In fact, it parallels the occupation of Jethro, the priest of Midian, whose flocks Moses tended. David also tended his father’s flocks. The priests of Israel were called “shepherds”. Suggestive, isn’t it?2. The link between Joseph and Mary’s lines is Zerubbabel, the mysterious priest, who reminds us of Melchizedek.Best wishes.
Thank you AliceYes, I also find this connection fascinating. You might like to see my Good Shepherd Monument on this very subject.http://www.hillstream.com/3shephards.htmlI was asked by the Catholic Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania to make a sculpture about Christ the Good Shepherd. This work, in bronze, is 30 feet long, 5 feet wide and about 8 feet tall. Its 30 X 5 foot base looks like a road on which Our Lord (in the center), with His sheep, walk toward a wolf. At the other end of this road are three shepherds from the Old Testament, types of Christ the Good Shepherd. There is Able, the first to offer a sacrifice to God, Moses, who brought the people to the promised land, and David, the shepherd who became a King. They watch the coming confrontation between Jesus and the Wolf. This piece stands outside in front of the Bishop’s offices. Each of the Shepherds holds a shepherd’s staff, the crosier, the symbol of the Bishop’s office. In the Gospel of John Jesus says He is the Good Shepherd because He lays down His life for the sheep. He says the wolf comes, and the hired man flees. I have never seen a wolf in a Good Shepherd painting or sculpture. Yet, it seems to me that he is important to the story. The sheep need a shepherd because they are in danger from the Wolf. Shepherds are Good when they lay down their lives for the sheep. In my work Jesus arms are full. He is holding His Lamb. He can protect Himself from the Wolf or He can protect His Lamb. He chooses to protect us, His Lambs. Most of the Good Shepherd statues I have seen are really about being safe in Jesus’ arms. This is true, but we are in the arms of a shepherd who was crucified and abandoned. I am honored that you are interested in my work. John
John, It is a marvelous sculpture! Dramatic and thought provoking. Your rendering of The Good Shepherd resolutely facing the wolf evokes deep feelings.What a great gift you have!
Thank you , Alice.