This painting took over 200 hours from start to finish, was done completely on my own time without pay. To break down this composition, start by looking at Daniel 10:5-6, where Daniel describes Gabriel appearing to him: “I looked up and saw a man clothed in linen… his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze”. A painting of Gabriel who looks more human might convince more people to like this painting, and more assuredly find the painting a home, felt like cowardice to me since this piece was entirely of my own accord.
This piece was inspired by da Messina’s “Virgin Annunciate”, where Mary is interrupted by Gabriel while reading. While Mary was sinless, she was still human and most likely terrified. As such, her hand is holding on, but less firmly than Gabriel’s. Her other hand, is retracted out of hesitation. However, a scared yes is still a yes, and so Gabriel can support her. Upon inspection, her body's position indicates she is supported by Gabriel. Gabriel’s head (recall: “face like lightning”) is partly obscured by color drift, implying to us he seems to be not quite solidly in our material realm. The flame of the candle is above the wick, implying the presence of the Holy Spirit burning of means not worldly. The flame is also color drifting, hinting that there is more than we can see. Finally, the sun is setting on the old chapter of Mary’s life, opening to a new one where she will watch her son die on a cross.