The Annunciation

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Apr 23 2017

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Category: Asia, India

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The mysterious moment when Maria is informed that she is chosen to carry the son of God inside her womb and to bring him into the world, has inspired many a painter to exceptional works of art. All great painters of the Renaissance will have an ‘Annunciazione’ to their name.

A very beautiful example is the fresco by Fra Angelico which can be found at the top of the stairs in the convent of San Marco in Florence. Why was it painted at this odd spot? The video installation March, 25 by Caroline Duchatelet, shown at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016, provides an explanation. On March 25, the day of the Annunciation, the first daylight falls through a window exactly on a corner of the fresco and when the sun rises higher the painting appears gradually from the dark till it is fully exposed. The video shows us this process.

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We first sit in complete darkness. After quite a while the first vague contours in the corner of the painting become visible. The slow illumination of the wall painting gives the spectator ample time to take in the special atmosphere of the tableau. It is a thought-provoking, meditative experience. But oh, how much would I have liked having sat at the San Marco in front of the original!

Photos of the week: Caroline Duchatelet, March 25 2015, video installation (40 minutes), Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016, Kerala. India 2016

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