Orthodox icon | Annunciation of the Gottesmutter | 24738.
The Annunciation to the Mother of God is a significant event marking the beginning of the Incarnation of the Son of God, and it has been depicted in Christian imagery since ancient times. It serves as the opening scene in the visual narrative of Jesus’ life. In this sacred moment, Gabriel, the messenger of God, proclaims the impending birth of Emmanuel, which means “God with us”.
The angel declares that the child will be great, called the Son of the Highest, and will be given the throne of his ancestor David, reigning over the house of Jacob forever. His reign will have no end. The Holy Spirit will come upon the Mother of God. The power of the Highest will overshadow her, thus the child she bears will be known as the Son of God.
On icons depicting the Annunciation, a silent dialogue unfolds through the eyes and hands of the angel and the Mother of God. The Mother of God may raise her hand, extending it towards Gabriel, conveying restraint and a sense of distance. Alternatively, she may place her hand on her chest, expressing acceptance and devotion.
The scene can come to life as the angel approaches her, while she is seated on a regal throne. The motif of the Annunciation at the fountain, also known as the pre-announcement, originates from the Proto-Gospel of James. Another variant depicts the angel entering the room where the Mother of God is engaged in weaving the curtain for the temple.
The archangel Gabriel is often depicted holding a lily, symbolizing purity and virginity. The feast day associated with the Annunciation is celebrated on March 25th, commemorating this sacred encounter.