Saturday, 18 March 2017

Fra Angelico 3/12

On the 18th day of each month in 2017 I'm posting a picture of a painting by Fra Angelico that I have seen and want to share to celebrate his Feast Day on 18 February. This month I've chosen the altarpiece in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, 'The Annunciation'. It shows that moment when the Virgin is told that she will be the mother of God's son and the holy spirit enters her in a shaft of light. To the left is the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden, a reminder of original sin from which the Virgin is free, and, below the main altarpiece are five small scenes from the life of the Virgin, from birth to death.

It's a glorious painting, full of light and colour, with the angel Gabriel bowing to the almost enthroned Virgin Mary. The longer you gaze at this painting the more you see, such as the tiny detail around the hems of the clothing and the garden full of little flowers (some are carnations but I didn't recognise many of the flowers).

In the room in the Prado where this is currently housed there's a bench a few feet in front of this painting so you can sit and gaze at it for as long as you like if you don't mind other visitors wandering past. I sat there for a while, scanning the painting and then getting up and going closer when i found another detail I wanted to see. It rewards multiple viewings.

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