Saturday, November 17, 2007
The Annunciation by Rene Magritte
This is not the most well known of Magritte's paintings, but I would say it is my favorite. Maybe because it deals with a religious theme. Or maybe because I like the contrast between the landscape and the corrugated iron.
There is a long tradition of artistic depictions of the annunciation of our Lord's nativity. Traditionally such scenes would show the angel Gabriel and Mary.
Here we have a landscape that looks fitting for a renaisance era picture, but instead of the angel and the virgin, we see a sheet of corrugated iron.#
It is as though Magritte is saying we cannot believe in the annunciation any more. We live in the world of factories and machine guns. It is as though he cannot even imagine the reality of an angel appearing to a virgin. Where the believer would see an angel and a girl, he sees only that cold, forbidding screen of steel.
The modern unbeliever lives a life of despair. He cannot see the beauty and wonder of God. For the modern man life is filled with bleakness. There is no hope.
The piece of lace that hangs over the iron screen is though to be a memory of the death of the artists' mother. Her body was discovered drowned, wearing only a lace nightgown.
For the unbeliever death looms menacingly. There is no hope for him or her. Death has all the coldness of that metallic screen.
Without the salvation of God in Christ we are left without any hope in the world.