Friday, March 25, 2022

The Annunciation of the coming Birth of Jesus to Mary in Spring Gardens - Illuminated Manuscripts

The Annunciation in a Garden, Book of Hours (Bodmer Hours), ca. 1400–1410 Michelino da Besozzo (Italian, act. 1388–1450). Renaissance (about 1400–1600) manuscript artists depicted gardens in a variety of texts, and their illustrations attest to the Renaissance spirit for the careful study of the natural world. In a society then dominated by the church, gardens within the miniature & in the margins surrounding were also integral to a Christian visual tradition.

The Annunciation is a day of celebration for many Christians throughout the world which reminds them of the time when the Virgin Mary was asked by the Lord to bring into the world a Savior who would be named Jesus.  Mary as Mother of Jesus was prophesized in Isaias 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, & bear a son, & his name shall be called Emmanuel.”
Psalter Annunciation in Garden, 1180. (National Library of theNetherlands) The Annunciation ca 1450, Book of Hours

The Annunciation is mentioned only a few times in the New Testament. The gospel of Matthew begins by describing the heritage of Jesus stating “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham:” (Matthew 1:1). In Chapter 1:2-16, continues listing Jesus’ heritage ending with a conclusion in verse 16 stating “And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” (Matthew 1:16).  Matthew describes the Annunciation of Mary. The Virgin Mary was found with a child, before she & Joseph “came together” Matthew 1:18). Joseph had concerns about what to do in this situation, until an angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: “Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. & she shall bring forth a son: & thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
 The Annunciation in a Garden from the Book of Hours,  Flanders c.1460

Luke is the only other gospel to mention the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. Luke states that: “the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; & the virgin’s name was Mary. & the angel said unto her: 'Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women..And the angel said to her: fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, & shalt bring forth a son; & thou shalt call his name Jesus.” (Luke 1:26-31)  Mary, being of such a young age, was in wonder, because she had not been with any man. Gabriel answered “.The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, & the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. & therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
The Annunciation to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel, with Anne Boleyn's note in the lower margin (London, British Library, MS King's 9, f. 66v).
The Annunciation in a Garden, about 1469

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

In 875 AD Imagining the origin of the Gospels

Illuminated Manuscript, Gospels of Freising, Evangelist Portrait of Matthew, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.4, fol. 33v Freising, Germany c 875.

A gospel is an account describing the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The most widely-known gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John.  Some Christians use the term "gospel," otherwise known as the "good news," in reference to the general message of the biblical New Testament.  Here Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John are portrayed with a few of their fierce friends writing about the life of Jesus.
Illuminated Manuscript, Gospels of Freising, Evangelist Portrait of Mark, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.4, fol. 90v Freising, Germany c 875.
Illuminated Manuscript, Gospels of Freising, Evangelist Portrait of Luke, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.4, fol. 126v Freising, Germany c 875.
Illuminated Manuscript, Gospels of Freising, Evangelist Portrait of John, Walters Art Museum Ms. W.4, fol. 178v Freising, Germany c 875.