MedievalBooksOfHours

Les Enluminures

Morgan MS M.1093, f. 24r

3. Hours of the Virgin
Infancy Cycle
Matins

Annunciation

As recounted in the Gospel of Luke (1: 26-56), the Annunciation is the revelation by the angel Gabriel to Mary that she would conceive a Child. Details such as the dove, the fountain, and the hart make clear that the Incarnation, the idea that Christ is both human and divine as the Son of God, is already present at the Annunciation. The feast is celebrated on March 25, nine months before the feast of the birth of Christ, or the Nativity (Christmas).

The Virgin Mary kneels before the Archangel Gabriel, the angel’s left hand holding a scroll inscribed with the beginning of the prayer “Ave gracia plena d[omi]n[u]s tecu[m] ben[edicta]” (Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed). Various symbols appear in the miniature and the borders: the dove represents the Holy Spirit; the lily flower stands for the purity of the Virgin Mary; the Fountain of Life in the margin is associated with the baptism of Christ and with life and rebirth; and the hart is a reference to Psalm 42 (“as the hart longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for thee, O God”).