Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tanner's Annunciation

This might be my favorite painting in the world. All over the internet this time of year, it remains fresh to me. In the past I've liked it because, frankly, Mary looks a lot like I did as a very young woman, and her puzzled expression confirms the likeness.

This year, I've noticed other things. The messy bed. The worn surroundings.

The uncompromising light.

Is that what we pray for, when we are so bruised and fragile that the flames of the advent candles threaten to engulf us in sorrow?

A birth that can lead only to Good Friday, because it is only there that we can be sure that God knows us?

Uncompromising, indeed.


Ruby said...

It's my favorite as well. Have you seen it in person? If not, it's worth a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (and I'd be glad to accompany you if you'd like to have a meet-up.) Right around the corner from this painting is a Tanner drawing of Mary as an old woman, which is very different and equally haunting.

Gannet Girl said...

Oh, I would like to see that drawing, Ruby.

I seem to be planning a trip to your area next summer, with other possible meet-ups in the works, too, and I had already thought about going to see the painting. This could turn into a real adventure.

Ruby said...

I hope you'll be in touch if your summer trip materializes. I would love to have a meet-up, especially if it includes Tanner.

Oksana said...

It is a deep profound painting!

Could you tell me the name of the image in the circle to the right - a Russian Orthodox icon, I believe, but cannot recognize. Thank you, and warmest wishes.