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Out of the Question

06 September 2013


Your answers

In pictures of the annunciation, why is the angel Gabriel usually shown on the left, and the Virgin Mary on the right?

To have Gabriel appear on the left and Mary on the right in images of the annunciation is typically a very straightforward pictorial interpretation of the words: "The angel of the Lord announced to Mary." In cultures with languages that read from left to right, it also, however, emphasises the primacy of the divine action.

To have Mary situated on the left might suggest an interpretation that emphasised Mary's unique and powerful place in salvation history even above the divine action. It had been done before the Reformation, but this arrangement began to appear with more frequency after 1550 and especially during the 17th century.

When executing commissions for churches, artists were generally expected to conform to type; but the reasons to divert could range from theological to aesthetic, and thereis no real hard and fast rule that could be applied to every case. There are several notable excep-tions to the left-right type, includ-ing della Robbia, Braccesco, Grünewald, Lotto, El Greco, Rubens, Zurbarán, Murillo, and Gentileschi.

(Sr) Thérèse OJN
Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA

Your questions

What was Anglican teaching on contraception before the 1958 Lambeth Conference? Was it a subject of heated debate in theC of E, as marriage after divorce and homosexuality were subsequently?

M. W.

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Tue 16 Aug @ 10:45
Ted Harrison finds biblical destinations closer to home https://t.co/52udq5Qf4X

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