Annunciation: Today is the Feast of Annunciation according to the Tridentine Calendar

A picture from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, by Hans Memling, Netherlandish.

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24 Responses to Annunciation: Today is the Feast of Annunciation according to the Tridentine Calendar

  1. johnhenrycn says:

    I take your point, Teresa, and made I a similar one, in a jocose way, on the Face of God post; but what are we to do in 2016, when the Feast of the Annunciation coincides with Good Friday, or in 2035 when it falls on Easter Sunday?


  2. toad says:

    As the lovely old folk ballard goes, “When it’s Wednesday in New Zealand, it’s Christmas over here.” Oh no it doesn’t, Toad, you made that up.

    Who expects good new from JH momentarily.


  3. johnhenrycn says:

    As the Bard said after his first colonoscopy, Toad: All’s Well That Ends Well 😉


  4. johnhenrycn says:

    I missed the “momentarily” dig there for a few minutes, Toad.


  5. teresa says:

    John Henry, that would be a problem, but I am sure the liturgists have already some regulations for it. There is in the Church an answer to every question… 😉


  6. johnhenrycn says:

    Teresa, I wonder what they did before 1962? There are some old-timers here who might be able to shed some light. I looked in the Editio Typica of The Roman Missal and Breviary, 1962, but couldn’t find the answer.


  7. teresa says:

    John Henry, perhaps they would just celebrate the more important holiday and transfer the less important ones (though in themselves important enough) to another day. That is my guess but I don’t know any source.


  8. toad says:

    Another wonderful painting. Thanks CP&S.

    Beautiful floor.Curious touch, giving just one of the angels olive-green wings…


  9. golden chersonnese says:

    I notice all the paraphernalia. The angels are all in liturgical vesture – albs and a splendid cope for the archangel, suggesting the scene is in fact somehow supremely liturgical or sacrificial. Are they lilies in the vessel, representing Our Lady’s chastity? And Our Lady’s larger-than-life left hand seems to be showing the Scriptures, probably the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, just as the Holy Spirit appears above her.

    I don’t know what to make of the tied-up curtain behind Our Lady? Painter just showing off?


  10. teresa says:

    Golden, very nice and intelligent interpretation!


  11. golden chersonnese says:

    Oh teresa, I only wish I knew more about it all.

    Back to commenting on the appurtenances, Gabriel has his sceptre to show his divine authority and power to speak for God, I am suggesting. Of the attending angels, one appears to serve Our Lady by carrying her train as if Mary were wearing her wedding garment whilst the angel peers knowingly at her newly fruitful womb. The other supports here while gazing at us almost assertively as if to present her to us. Together the two angels place Our Lady in the centre of the picture so that she and the archangel are predominant. The elongated faces, hands and figures give the sort of sacred and mystical effect that they do in Eastern icons. Wavy ginger hair seems important, but I can’t work out why. Perhaps it was a 15th century Flemish thing.

    Anyhow, truly many thanks for the picture, teresa, And I seem even to have got a few things right about it! This chaps seems something of an expert::


  12. teresa says:

    Golden, your interpretation is far more better than the article you linked to.

    The author doesn’t seem to understand the Christian tradition as she /he? says that “Mary is conceiving the child of God” (!!!) which is totally wrong. God himself has become man through Mary. And the author of the article is merely describing in a quite unimpressive way what he / she sees in the picture.

    Without background knowledge of Christianity, people are not capable of understanding artworks of the past.

    That is why your interpretation is far more superior.


  13. golden chersonnese says:

    teresa, I noticed that the art writer (yes, “she”, thanks) didn’t manage to call a cope a cope!

    I’m afraid the more I look at this painting the more I see. Or am I seeing things?

    For instance, if you follow the serving angel’s gaze downward, you see it forms a diagonal crossing the pregnant womb of Our Lady down to the lilies suggesting her virginity at the same time. The archangel’s right hand points up telling us that it is God’s action in response to Our Lady’s consent, which is shown by her downcast eyes and her right hand that she places in humility on her breast.

    Our Lady is swooning under the experience of it all and needs to be supported by the angel,

    I’d really better stop this.


  14. teresa says:

    Golden, 😀 that is why we love masterpieces, they provide so much pleasure and unlimited occasions for exercising our intelligence.. And indeed the more one looks at them the more one sees!

    I think that is the greatest and substantial difference between masterpieces and mere entertainment.
    If I’ve watched a movie for entertainment I won’t want to watch it again, but the pictures by old masters and great literature provide enjoyment for the whole life time.


  15. golden chersonnese says:

    Indeed, teresa, indeed, even for the artistically unlettered like me. I’m not sure if the 15th century Flemish plebs ever got to see this picture before it was trundled off to New York, but if they did and heard a gospel explanation or a sermon too, they would have gained a very good understanding of the scene in St Luke.


  16. Frere Rabit says:

    The perspective is fascinating. All conforms to a single vanishing point, except for the Virgin Mary’s prayer desk which is aligned with a quite separate vanishing point.


  17. Brother Burrito says:

    I notice the window is open. This was to let the angels and Holy Spirit in?

    I’ll get my coat.


  18. johnhenrycn says:

    I don’t know why you’re reaching for your coat, unless the weather has turned in the Alands. The symbolism of the open window was something the artist intended. It is significant, that’s for sure. The Holy Spirit never enters where He has not been invited.


  19. golden chersonnese says:

    johnhenry, as an experienced counsel for the heavenly intruders, you could very ably show there were no signs of forced entry.


  20. johnhenrycn says:

    Thank you, Golden. I’m not a great lawyer like Clarence Darrow, or The Raven. More like William Jennings Bryan, who died five days after winning his last case (reversed on appeal).


  21. johnhenrycn says:

    …which is not to say The Raven is a doctrinaire evolutionist – only that he had occasion to correct me once on a point of law, which still rankles, two years later.


  22. johnhenrycn says:

    Just a point of order: I humbly request that I be addressed as “johnhenry” or “JH”. Not that other formulae (“johnhenrycn”, “John Henry”, “idiot”) are inaccurate, but I’ve grown affectionate of those two appelations.


  23. johnhenrycn says:

    Since I’m only a commenter here, I’m forced to tender this link about Pope Francis’s preferred accommodations out of context. If’n I were Pope, I’d choose the top floor of this building, which I walk by frequently. It’s a very small floor, but more suited for a successor of Peter than a second floor walk up.


  24. toad says:

    Although, like JH, Toad is only a commenter on here, he diffidently suggests “The Deposition,” by Van der Weyden, to illustrate Good Friday’s offering, seeing as we are currently on an artwork masterpiece roll.
    Roundly regarded, in its day – pre Velazquez – as the greatest painting in the world.
    With good reason.


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