DebateThat as Annunciation scenes (of the angel Gabriel telling the Virgin Mary she will bear the son of god) deal with the same subject, they will be very similar i. e. “Seen one Annunciation scene, seen them all. ”Negative TeamHi, I am Camilla, the leader of the negative team summing up our case that if you have seen one annunciation scene you’ve certainly not seen them all. First I would like to recap in some detail the 2 sides to this debate. Affirmative TeamThe affirmative team claim that as Annunciation scenes shows the archangel Gabriel entering the house of the Virgin Mary to communicate to her that she will soon bear the child Jesus, whose name means the “Savior.
” The scenes must be similar, repetitive, lacking in originality, static, they are all mere bland replicas of the same story, they have taken a narrow point of view dealing with works only up to the 16th century. They have failed to consider the general or original Annunciation style e. g. some well known iconography, amount of gold used and medium. Negative TeamWe however disagree, if you look at Annunciation scenes from the 19th century onwards, by artists of different gender, ethnicity and beliefs it is possible to see that different effects have been created through settings, color, gesture and figures. Even though the subject is the same, there are features which are innovative, different which bring out the artists own distinctive style in which they believe is their own personal painting on what the Annunciation really is.
Even though these ‘modern’ artists have been given influence from early renaissance artists it doesn’t mean that they cannot incorporate their own style within their paintings. Leading to conclude you that if you have seen one Annunciation scene you most definitely haven’t seen them all. Affirmative TeamWe would like to rebut the argument thank you. Negative TeamYesAffirmative TeamWell in Martinis Annunciation for instance there is the marble floor, the archangel, the pot of lilies, the half closed book of Mary and her throne, and the gold background.
This is very much the same as every other Annunciation scene I have seen. . don’t you agree? There is no way these “modern” artists have taken a completely different look on the Annunciation and made it unique to the original painters like Martini. Negative TeamPlease go more in depth with what your trying to say. I would certainly like to hear more. Affirmative TeamHe has brought some realistic details into the painting by doing so.
Martini has chosen a distinct and singular moment of the Annunciation to depict. His work is considered an absolute masterpiece and one of the greatest examples of Sienese Gothic painting, characterized by the wonderful elegance of both line and color. The Archangel has just touched ground in front of the Virgin as shown by his unfold wings and his swirling mantle. The scene seems a theatrical performance, as stressed by the comic strip like sentence in the middle of the composition with the greeting of the angel.
Negative TeamCan I just interrupt you there!! From what I am seeing right now, all of the figures to me are giving the same message as every other painting ive seen. I am starting to get very bored right now. Affirmative TeamWell the Virgin Mary is portrayed almost surprised and frightened by the sudden appearance. Her movement, so prim and elegant, adds a certain effect of sophistication to the work. The altarpiece has a gold background, so bound to tradition, and still very much in demand for the depictions of sacred stories. These types of artists adhered therefore to what customers required.
Well for this purpose Martini included some delightful details in the main scene as the marble floor, the mantle of the archangel, the pot of lilies, the half-closed book of Mary and her throne, all of which suggest a real space, otherwise penalized by the gold background. The painting is then fully Sienese for the beauty and the gentleness of lines and colors, just in opposition to Florentine style, more related to the volume and the shape. Martini has chosen a distinct and singular moment of the Annunciation to depict. The immediacy of the still-flowing cloak of Gabriel, the presence of the greeting that became a prayer and the holy distress of the Virgin are key aspects to the religious and artistic power and foresight that Simone Martini employed when executing this master altarpiece. His style elaborated Giotto, pushing the level of detail and attention to move even further.
Affirmative TeamMaybe you could convince me that all Annunciation scenes are not the same with your next paintings but I highly doubt it. My opinion is very strong towards this and I wont be changing my mind any time soon. Negative TeamWell now to recap our argument based on research. Affirmative TeamGo ahead.
Negative TeamFirst let us go back to John Colliers work who is an American artist born on June 26, 1948. His painting of the Annunciation (2000), is painting that is a beautiful example of inculturation–the Gospel penetrating to the deepest core of a culture. Affirmative TeamWhat an earth are you talking about?Negative TeamWell let me explain then. In the constant interplay between culture and faith, it is refreshing to come across an artist who is so aware that he has a dual duty; first to capture the figures of salvation history, and second to do so in a way that is familiar and challenging to his audience.
Collier does an amazing job doing what artists have done for hundreds of years. Affirmative TeamDoing what?Negative TeamHe contemporizes the moment of the angel’s greeting which is making it more modern. Affirmative TeamThat is pretty much what I have seen in every other painting. The same angel portraying the same message with the lilies right near him?Negative TeamCan I just explain something. .
He captures her surprise, fear, and curiosity perfectly. Mary is pulling away with her body but leaning in with her head. In this modern painting, Mary is a suburban schoolgirl who finds herself in an improbable situation. In her sports shoes and smock, she is greeted by a reverent Archangel Gabriel.
He knows who she is and what she will be, even if she does not. John Collier, jolts the viewer by making the scene immediate, now, not thousands of years ago. Affirmative TeamA Virgin with untied shoelaces and scraped-back hair? Surely not. This is boring me. Negative TeamThe reason why she was wearing gym shoes was because the mother of the model had laid her clothing out on her bed and the sun was going down so there was no time’. This shows the distinctive style that this painter liked to use.
Its not your typical traditional painting of the Annunciation. I don’t see how you think that it is?Affirmative TeamTo me this uses a lot of the same iconography that are often put in icons of the annunciation for instance Mary is wearing blue and is reading a book which is the prophet of Isaiah which says that a virgin will conceive when bear a son”. You see lilies in the foreground. The black vertical window in the background which is a symbol of her virginity that is a window that will not open. All of the same things shown over and over again in every Annunciation scene.
Cant you see what im trying to tell you?Negative TeamNo I cannot see what your trying to say. This painting has more dynamism than the work of many, more traditional, artists like Martini. “One thing that you’ll notice in the painting is that it takes place in the present day. Its a tradition that goes right back to the renaissance, perhaps even earlier.
In the renaissance you would often see a religious painting, for instant the wise men coming to the nativity because that is what the people expected it to see a king wearing. It helps the person who sees the painting to identify the characters in the painting, for instance so often portrayed in first century clothing. Affirmative TeamLook! There’s doves (holy spirit) sitting on the roof of the neighbors house waiting for her. Negative team just take a close look at this painting this is your normal Annunciation scene. You must be blind to disagree with me.
Negative TeamWhy do you think I could ever come to agree with you. There is a lot of things that are not “traditional” in this painting. Look at the clothing that Mary is wearing, the structure of the building and she is standing on a welcoming mat welcoming St Gabriel. This is no where near as close to an original painting like Martini. Affirmative Team: The “original” painting of the Annunciation, Mary was very young and she still is in this painting. This painting is that it looks to much of a modern day looking set and does not have many characteristics compared to Martinis one.
Mary in this painting looks nothing like Virgin Mary is supposed to be pictured as even though she is classified to be a young girl at this time. Negative TeamI very much appreciate your opinions but I would like to stop you there and discuss the second artist that was Dante Rossetti born in 1828-1882 in London, England. Rossetti’s art was characterised by its sensuality and its medieval revivalism. Inspired by the work of early Renaissance artists such as Botticelli and Fra Angelico. Traditionally the Virgin Mary was depicted in studious contemplation, reading a missal at a prie-dieu; but here Rossetti shows her rising awkwardly from a low bed, as if disturbed from sleep, while the Angel Gabriel presents her with a white lily.
Affirmative TeamThere will always be a traditional influence in every single painting once again. Both figures are dressed in white, a symbol of the virgin’s purity, and the angel’s role as the messenger of god is emphasized by the small white dove hovering beside him, signifying the presence of the holy spirit. The color palette is identical to every other painters Annunciation. Its repetitive.
. How can you not point this out already?Negative Team: Rossetti intentionally restricted his palette almost entirely to white and the three primaries. The colour blue, symbolic of heaven, is traditionally associated with the Virgin and red symbolizes the blood of Christ. The composition is carefully thought out: the vertical division of space, made by the blue hanging and the edge of the bed, falls almost on the Golden Section. The dove and the lily, with one bud still to break, move across this division and are the instruments of conception. The lily Gabriel holds symbolizes purity and is repeated on the embroidery at the foot of the bed.
The flame from the oil lamp reminds us of the presence of the Holy Spirit, here portrayed as a haloed dove. Less conventionally, however, Gabriel’s angelic status is shown not with wings, but by the flames around his feet, which appear to make him float. His head is framed by a window looking onto a blue sky, suggesting the kingdom of Heaven. Blue is also used for the screen behind the Virgin, and so, though in white, she is still set against that color most often associated with her in art.
Despite the wealth of symbolism, compositionally Rossetti has kept things simple. Affirmative TeamDon’t you mean very much like the Early Italian Renaissance fresco painter, Fra Angelico, the palette is limited, dominated by shades of white. Not very unique in our eyes. Negative TeamEven though your talking utter nonsense, thank you for your opinion affirmative team.
I would like to introduce the third artist we dealt with was He Qi, a Chinese born artist that discovered art during the Cultural Revolution. He works in Chinese ink and Japanese gouache on a rice-paper like material and lives in the USA. He focuses on colourful and highly contemporary sacred Chinese Christian paintings. Affirmative TeamThe similarities from this painting are exact to most paintings I have seen so far. The overall look and message from this painting gives me no confirmation that its different.
Its a bland replica of the same story, he’s failed to consider the general or original Annunciation style e. g. some well known iconography, amount of gold used and medium. I have nothing more to say about this painting. It disgusts me!Negative TeamI would like to rebut thank you! He started getting inspired in religious art when he saw a painting of Madonna holding baby Jesus in her hands. What he got from this was a ‘the peaceful message’.
He says his art is very open minded. His work is very Chinese influenced which reaches out to the people of China and the rest of the world. He Qi hopes to express the Gospel message through traditional Chinese art styles while introducing western colors to this tradition. He thinks he has to much suffering in his life that he doesn’t want to share it with the people in his artwork. He wants to always give a ‘peaceful message’. One can better understand the art of He Qi when it is seen as a reinterpretation of sacred art within an ancient Chinese art idiom.
Chinese religious art, being an expression of Buddhism, was historically typified as a tranquil and utopian portrayal of nature, often painted with black ink and water. He Qi is especially influenced by the simple and beautiful artwork of the people in rural China. Within that framework, he seeks to redefine the relationship between people and spirituality with bold colors, embellished shapes and thick strokes. His work is a blend of Chinese folk art and traditional painting technique with the iconography of the Western Middle Ages and Modern Art. Affirmative TeamI have nothing more else to say about this painting.
It disgusts me I’m very sorry!Negative TeamAlright. . . thank you for your opinion. Another artist we dealt with was Henry Tanner.
He was an African-American artist born in 1859–1937. He is a realist painter, focusing on accurate depictions of subjects. Tanner’s body of work is not limited to one specific approach to painting. His works vary from meticulous attention to detail in some paintings to loose, expressive brush strokes in others. He was also interested in the effects that colour could have in a painting. Many of his paintings accentuate a specific area of the color spectrum.
The Annunciation expresses the intensity and fire of religious moments, and the elation of transcendence between the divine and humanity. Tanner often experimented with light in a composition. The source and intensity of light and shadow in his paintings create a physical, almost tangible space and atmosphere while adding emotion and mood to the environment. Affirmative TeamExcuse me may I say that even though he has brought some sense of mood and emotion into the painting, I can still only think of how much this gives the same message as every other Annunciation scene ive seen.
Mary is still the same young girl in every painting. Maybe you could persuade me to think otherwise but right now its just another replica after replica. Negative TeamI’ve been trying to persuade you this whole time affirmative team. This is the last time I can prove a point to you.
Maybe this time you will understand? In his Annunciation, we find a very young Mary visited by the indiscernible angel Gabriel, her face aglow in his glorious light as he announces the coming of her Son, the Messiah and Savior of the world. Her youth, innocence, and prayerful submission are dramatically portrayed by Tanner in a very humble, human setting. She is not “saintly” or other-worldly as are many presentations of the annunciation. She is a real girl found on a real day in a real setting. Notice her face.
It is both a vision of uncertainty and obedience. It perfectly presents the question of her heart to the angel, “But how can I be with child when I have not known a man?” Her gown and the covers of her bed are amazingly presented to us by Tanner’s skill. And imagine the playfulness he must have had in presenting her few toes to us from under the blanket. Swaddled in a striped, luxuriantly wrinkly robe, Mary sits on her rumpled bed with folded hands and looks sideways at the apparition with a slightly suspicious expression. Turning the angel into such an abstraction makes the mystical event almost plausible for an age of science.
He modernized to the extent of embracing Gauguin-like style. But that led to bland, flattened illustrations like those you might find in a mass-market Bible. In his last two decades he experimented with mixing different kinds of paint that he built up into layers usually keyed to a ghastly candy-blue colour. Affirmative TeamI am sorry to say this negative team, I’m still not convinced after all of these paintings that they are different? To me all I see is the same story repeated one after the other. Negative TeamSorry I wasn’t able to convince you today but thank you for your opinions affirmative team. Negative TeamIn conclusion we will reiterate our argument we concede that the Annunciation paintings deal with the same basic subject throughout any artist.
But we have proven to you that artists not constrained patronage by patronage, of different ethnicity, following different art movements. They are inspired by their own distinctive agenda or style. Each individual “modern” artist have chosen to slightly incorporate their own beliefs into the each painting of the Annunciation scene. They have all produced very unique versions of the Annunciation so you cannot say “Seen one Annunciation scene, seen them all.”