Images of the Annunciation

Traditional depictions of the Annunciation including angel wings, halos, lilies, and Mary’s downcast eyes abound on Christmas cards. In fact, it may at times be easy to skip quickly past the Annunciation in our excitement for the coming Christmas celebration.

As Verbum celebrates the Holy Rosary throughout October, we invite you to reflect on the significance of the announcement that changed the world.

Below are just a few paintings of the Annunciation from the last hundred years or so. Some of the traditional symbols have changed or even disappeared in these paintings, but they all reflect a true encounter between the divine and the human.

Each featured artist below has brought to light a different interpretation of the Angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary. See, for example, the serentity of George Hitchcock’s Mary, the shock of Murashko’s Mary—who, interestingly, is herself an artist. In Tanner’s Annunciation, Mary seems to be cringing with anxiety before the light in her room.

The deFeo piece is intriguing because it is most abstract; is it a torso? wings?

Perhaps there are no limits to the ways the Annunciation can be portrayed, because there is no limit to the way we encounter the Holy Spirit.


Annunciation by A. Murashko, 1909


The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1896.
The Annunciation by Jay deFeo, 1959.



Written by
Kathryn Hogan
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Written by Kathryn Hogan