signed on face of icon, lower right: “by the hand of D. Vayajolu”
wood; gesso; paint; gold
United States of America
Luke 1:26-38; Annunciation, early 14th c., Ochrid Icon Gallery, Yugoslavia (figures only)
H: 9.3 in. x W: 6.5 in. x D: 0.8 in.
H: 23.5 cm. x W: 16.4 cm. x D: 2.0 cm.
Copyright 2010 College of Saint Benedict. All rights reserved.
Artifacts; Original Drawings, Paintings, Icons, Calligraphy;
At some time prior to acquisition, the panel had suffered fractures to its surface; there had been some unsuccessful attempt at repair. Damage to front of panel: tiny chip to gesso, upper left corner; chip to gesso and tiny crack at the base of the pediment on the building behind the figure of Mary; deep chips to Gabriel’s outer robe, under extended arm; a series of chips to right edge, midway down with mismatched re-coloring; big, deep chip at lower left middle edge with mismatched re-coloring; chip to edge, lower right below signature with mismatched re-coloring; chip on lower right corner. Damage to the back of panel: tiny chip upper left; big chip upper right corner; tiny chip lower left edge; chip to lower right corner. This object was both dry and damp cleaned according to directions from a conservation expert when it was received at Clemens Library.
This original painting on a flat, rectangular, solid wood panel depicts the Annunciation of the Mother of God, the biblical moment when the Archangel Gabriel appears to the Virgin Mary and tells her that she will become pregnant and bear God’s son. The scene here shows both figures full-length. The angel approaches from the viewer’s left with its right arm and hand extended towards Mary in a gesture of communication. Gabriel’s left hand holds a tall, slender staff. Gabriel’s wings are painted in blue and golden brown. The angel’s inner robe (chiton) is blue with bands of green; its outer garment (himation) is creamy white with golden brown highlights. There is a blue and red ribbon tied in the angel’s brown hair and dainty sandals on its feet. Mary is seated opposite Gabriel on a bench with cushions, holding two skeins of yarn in her left hand. (One ancient source describes Mary at her spinning when Gabriel appeared.) Her left hand is raised, palm forward and at mid-torso, as if to ward off something fearful, or to express perplexity or non-acceptance (“How can this be since I am a virgin?” Lk. 1.34). Mary’s inner robe is deep blue; her outer robe and veil (maphorion) is edged in gold. The gold stars on her shoulders and forehead symbolize that she remains a virgin before, during and after the birth of her divine son. Mary wears red slippers.
In the very top center of the picture is a portion of a sphere rendered in deepening shades of concentric blue arcs as the eye travels toward its center. This represents the high heavens. Red and orange rays, symbolizing the action of the Holy Spirit, emanate from the blue circle’s center and beam to Mary’s head.
The scene is set as if in a building or on a balcony, with a kind of balustrade in the background and buildings rising behind each figure.
All this is set against a field of gold with an inscription in Greek that identifies the icon as that of the Annunciation of the Mother of God. The Greek inscriptions next to each figure identify them and the Archangel Gabriel and the Mother of God, respectively. The panel is painted with a border of dull red-brown. Its sides and back are painted as well. There is a metal hanger on the back.
One of three icons in the Sullivan Collection “by the hand of D. Voyajolu”.