On the Side of the Angels part 7: Carlo Crivelli

Another in a series of observations of early medieval paintings in the National Gallery London, an endless source of inspiration and amusement. Intended to show how I find stories in a painting, not my opinion of the subject matter nor its creator. Nothing replaces seeing the real thing!

Annunciation with St Emidius 1486, Carlo Crivelli

More than anything this is a picture about architecture: the message is almost swamped by fine brickwork and terracotta tiles.

A convenient aperture in the cornice allows the heavenly light to strike the virgin’s forehead.

Gabriel turns impatiently from an importunate Emidius who clutches the model of a cathedral, and is no doubt claiming intellectual property on that aperture.

Not Now, Em says Gabriel. kinda busy, got the whole of life as we know it to change – your cathedral can wait a few centuries, don’t you think?

On a viaduct above, the business of buying a bird in a cage is transacted; on the steps behind the archangel a friar gossips with friends and a young child spies round the bannister – on Mary, through her window, perhaps.

Up the street, someone notices the glancing gold of the Word and shades his eyes against the glare.

The rug is rucked under Mary’s knees, another rug hangs from the balcony above stirred by the wind. A cucumber and an apple rest on the step in the foreground. There are doves everywhere, and an ostentatious peacock vyes for notice with the terracotta friezes.

© Cherry Potts 2013

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