The angel Gabriel's declaration to Mary that she was to become the mother of Jesus is called the Annunciation. The story is found I what is known as the Infancy Narrative of St. Luke's Gospel - Luke 1:5-2:52 (The Catholic Encyclopedia).Rogier van der Weyden's painting, The Annunciation, was completed around 1435, is a 33 7/8" x 36 1/4" panel, which once was part of a triptych. The depiction is of Mary in a bedchamber, seated by the light of a window at the right, positioned on the floor in a stance that implies that she had been busy reading while angel Gabriel comes to pronounce that she was blessed among women to bear the child Jesus. Gabriel appears to Mary's back with a somewhat solemn face as Mary turns her head towards him.Weyden portrays a somewhat intimate detailed image; he tries to show that Mary was reading a book while angel Gabriel declared that she would be the chosen woman to bear Jesus. The original purpose of including a book in his painting was to evoke the prophecy of Isaiah, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive".In the deep space that characterizes Van der Weyden's work, Mary acknowledges the presence of Gabriel with a head inclined away from the book and a gesture of the raised right hand...Van der Weyden introduces some significant elements into the Annunciation iconography. To denote purity, the vase of lilies is present but so too is a carafe of clear liquid, which may also represent an alchemical union of the sexes (Losh, 2001).
According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, "The column which separates the angel Gabriel from Mary symbolizes the division of the Old and the New Law that was bridged by the Incarnation." [National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Mellon Collection, 1937]
The artist represents a shallow space, and he uses logical measurement, since the bodies of angel Gabriel and Mary where inclined at the same direction and the bench was paralleled to the bed.
We can clearly see that the picture is dynamic, full of movement, we can easily know that Gabriel is stating a message to Mary while Mary on the other hand reacts to what the angel have declared.
The composition was fairly organized, the artist uses harmonious perspective in detailing every object in the painting, but the objects seem to be shorter than they really are, the bench was not comfortable to sit in, the bed looks shorter for the size of Mary, and the chandelier seems to hit the heads of Mary if she will stand.
I consider Mary as the focal point of the painting. Her black gown catches first my attention; its solid, vivid color amazed me.
The intended point-of-view of the scene is oblique, as intended by the artist, place yourself in the right side of the painting, and look at it with an angle of 45 degrees then you will see the image more precisely and the message it wants to impart.
As one of Rogier's successful works, the Annunciation was characterized by cold and bold colors; they were as strong as the message was so strong - that it is possible for a virgin to conceive a child even without the intervention of the flesh or sexual intercourse - also it is characterized by rhythmic elongated lines, particularly evident in fluttering robes and draperies, by the elegant mannered poses of the figures, and especially by a tragic religious intensity that reached a peak in three versions of the crucifixion.
The scene is sharply lit, there are no unnecessary lines in the painting, and every detail can be seen, even the thread that holds the curtain of the bed. The light is obviously coming from the right side window if you are facing towards the painting and at the left side of Mary.
The artist uses different textures, from the chandelier, in designing the window, to the plain style of the bed and beddings, to the chairs and its pillows, to Mary's clothing, and specially so, to what Gabriel was wearing, its designs and details depicts the magnificence of the creature.
Most of the paintings of Rogier van der Weyden were serene,