The Annunciation’s inspiration

My Christmas card for 2012 features words from a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke and some details of Fra Angelico’s famous fresco – a confluence of ideas from the same titles, but disparate elements coming to the fore. Rilke’s poem, Annunciation, of 1899, is a beautiful, bewitching expression of the angel’s point of view. It …

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Julia Margaret Cameron and her Marys

The Virgin Mary is a compelling and complex character for any believer, particularly a woman of the mid-nineteenth century. On the one hand, she was the ideal of femininity – gentle, nurturing, compassionate. If ever there was a woman who was great through love, it is the Madonna. On the other hand, as both mother …

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