Yesterday was the commemoration of the day Mary found out she was pregnant. Can you imagine having the rest of the world for millennium know about (and remember) the day you realized you were late?
Above is an icon, the prototype is from the 1300′s (14th century) and below, a version of the same scene by Fra’ Angelico in the 1400′s…during the Renaissance. Lighting/shadow changes, perspective changes and pigment changes. But the topic is still the same.
The perspective changes are the biggest, in my opinion.
In the icon, the observer is expected to be part of the scene. During the Renaissance, the observer becomes more and more passive. The scene become outside of us and outside of our reality.
Even though I like the colors and the “realism” of the later work better, I wonder what is lost when that distance is interposed; when we become observers instead of participants?
What can be gained by finding one’s self in those stories?
Is there value in finding one’s self in a story, even if you don’t count the story as an article of faith? What if it IS an article of faith for you? Does that increase what one learns from the artist?
Will the experience be different when I see the works in person?