Emotional Presentation in Annunciation
In 1425, Fra Angelico was called upon to produce an altarpiece for the monastery of San Domenico in Fiesole, Italy. Angelico would create Annunciation; his perception of the commonly reproduced scene of the announcement of the birth of Christ. Seen in this tempera painted panel are the angel Gabriel as well as the Madonna alongside of a depiction of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Through selection of color, positioning and poses of figures, along with overall sparseness of the work, Angelico’s Annunciation functions to create a mood of calm and tranquility in this monumental scene of the church.
In this work Angelico selects a palette consisting primarily of lighter, pastille colors, aside from the dominating presence of blue, to establish the sense of tranquility. The figure of Gabriel is presented in almost light pink robes trimmed in gold displaying his heavenly nature while simultaneously evoking a welcoming tone as he approaches Mary. Mary is presented in similar hues, as she will welcome the Son of God into her womb however; she is also cloaked in a heavy blue symbolizing peace and calm. Angelico places this blanketing of tranquility to synonymously coincide with the peace that Gabriel “cloaks” over Mary stating in Luke chapter 1 verse 30 “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God”. Blue, additionally located on the ceiling of the structure, also doubles as a symbol for the sky and heavens, precisely placed by Angelico under the face of God as He reigns over the heavens.
Angelico’s precision in the placement of his figures assists the selection of color in creating a tranquil scene. He positions Gabriel such that the angel is eye level with Mary creating a sense of sympathy almost humanizing the angel as his coming troubles her. Angelico also fixes Gabriel at a slight bow further promoting his sympathetic and calming presence as well as creating a sense that Gabriel is paying...
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