Annunciation in Art

– the call and response

  Two week course

Monday 27th March & Monday 3rd April 2023 

“There is some kiss we want with our whole lives, the touch of spirit on the body.


In celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation on 25th March, this two week course will explore the deeper meaning of the Annunciation in Art – the call and response, one of the most memorable, beautiful and sacred images in Christian art. We will take an overview of the story of the Annunciation and its symbolic meaning, and look at a number of different paintings and sculpture across a broad timeline with a particular focus on the images from the Florentine Renaissance. We will question, Why does this encounter between the divine world and the human world take different forms, character, feeling and response?  How is this encounter with the divine shaped into the image?

We will follow the story of the annunciation through the period of the Renaissance when its art form flourished and began to express something of the interior visualisation and soul-state that the beholder was invited to ‘see’.  During the 15th century, the Franciscan friar, Fra Roberto, laid out five specific spiritual and psychological states that Mary moves through as told in the Gospel of St Luke, and it is these that laid the foundation for many of the paintings created at the time.

The Annunciation also marked a beginning, of human consciousness realising the divine. Until the mid 1700s, the Florentine calendar began with the Incarnation as opposed to the Birth of Christ, and so the Annunciation also marks the beginning of time as Dr Joseph Milne writes, 

“For science the origins of things means the discernment of the temporal unfoldment of nature, the sequence in chronological time through which the forms of nature emerge, and the processes or mechanisms by which they emerge. Origins in the biblical or religious sense, on the other hand, means the immediate ontological presence of the cosmos in which human consciousness finds itself called to make a response.”

From the beautiful and alive images of the Annunciation created by Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Jan Van Eyck, Donatello, Titian, Caravaggio and many more, as well as later works of art, we will explore the varying responses communicated, from awe to trepidation.  

This course is £45

This course was recorded and available for purchase – click the button below.