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Joyful Mystery #1: Annunciation


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I finished a painting in a new series I'm beginning. I decided to do twenty paintings, one for each of the mysteries of the rosary. There are four groups of mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and Luminous. I did the 3rd Joyful Mystery as a commision last year. I just finished the 1st Joyful Mystery which is the annunciation.

joy_mystery1SM.jpg

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Joyful Mystery #1: Annunciation

I am going to keep the format consistent with a border of roses around each painting. Besides the rose being associated with Our Blessed Mother the original rosaries were made from dried rosebuds strung together hence the name: rosary. The narrative of the paintings will be traditional but in a contemporary setting. I've always disliked those renaissance and baroque angels, all tiny pink and effeminate. It seems angels always begin their message with "Don't be afraid". Who would ever be afraid of a pink, floating baby with wings unless your afraid it's not potty trained. So my angel is big and imposing. Mary is surprised, as is her cat. She has dropped the book she is reading. She is listening attentively to the Angel's message " Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you."

My hope is that eventually all twenty paintings could be published together as an aid to meditating on the mysteries. But it will take a while to paint all twenty although I have started on the 2nd Joyful Mystery which is the visitation.

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I like it, Jim! And I like the idea for the series of related paintings; it's a cool idea!

And, I agree with you about angels.

Yours truly,

ABP

No one with a good car needs to be justified. -- Hazel Motes

In the final end, he won the wars, after losin' every battle.-- Bob Dylan, Idiot Wind

Hot Rod Anglican blog ...

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very cool --

i hope the series doesn't take too long. i especially like the little eyes in the flowers in the angel - playfully seraphimic...reminds me a little of marian zidaru's paintings though the multiple eyes are a bit of an iconographic trope/ cross-cultural symbol (bodhisattvas, anyone?).

i love the resonance of the commentary too - i hope there will be more of that as you complete the other icons...

Edited by techne

I don't deny that there should be priests to remind men that they will one day die. I only say it is necessary to have another kind of priests, called poets, to remind men that they are not dead yet. - G. K. Chesterton

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Impressive - love it! Nice colors. I'm sure it would be much more effective in person, though -- what size are these?

"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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I like the style you've developed over the years. Some of it reminds me of another artist (west coast, IIRC), esp with respect to how you render your figures. I can't think of the other guy's name though (which is frustrating because I've been trying to remember his name for months now!!!).

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Jim, fantastic idea for the series, and I'm really impressed by the first installment. There's some iconographic flavor here, although you're obviously doing something quite different. The angel is fantastic.

(One minor classicist quibble: In keeping with well-established tradition, I would have liked to see Mary's head covered.)

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

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Jim, fantastic idea for the series, and I'm really impressed by the first installment. There's some iconographic flavor here, although you're obviously doing something quite different. The angel is fantastic.

(One minor classicist quibble: In keeping with well-established tradition, I would have liked to see Mary's head covered.)

I appreciate your quibble. The challenge of painting biblical narratives is trying to balance the traditional iconography with contemporary visual information. Having Mary's head covered is well-established but not universal. It seems less of a tradition in the northern, gothic painters like Memling, Bouts, Massys and the like and they are inconsistent sometimes covered, sometimes not. Even Botticelli occasionally has her head uncovered. Head coverings are so not 21st century. I decided to bow to the culture than to the tradition in this case.

Edited by Jim Janknegt
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Are those arrows or flowers on her dress? If arrows, Why are all theY pointing down? Is that a token of humility? It seems a bit too strong to be unintentional.

Like the Cala lilies. And the Holy Spirit. What's she reading?

And SURELY Mary would not be a cat person!

Those are supposed to be stylized fleur-de-lis on Mary's dress. I got the idea of the cat from another annunciation painting by Lorenzo Lotto. I'd never seen a cat in an annunciation before and I like the way it helped convey the idea of surprize.

lotto13.JPG

What's wrong with Mary being a cat person???

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Jim,

Have you begun another painting in this series yet?

I think this is going to be just a great thing!

Yours truly,

ABP

No one with a good car needs to be justified. -- Hazel Motes

In the final end, he won the wars, after losin' every battle.-- Bob Dylan, Idiot Wind

Hot Rod Anglican blog ...

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Hi Jim,

Have you begun another painting in this series yet?

I think this is going to be just a great thing!

Yes, I have started on the Visitation, when Mary goes to see Elizabeth after she finds out she is expecting. I'll post it up on the site when I am through with it. Thanks for the encouragement.

By the way Sandra Bowden has picked this painting and one other of mine to be in a CIVA touring exhibit called Seeing the Saviour. It will begin touring April through August of 2008 and other places still deciding dates. So look for an exhibit near you, hopefully.

Jim

Edited by Jim Janknegt
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