The Immaculate Conception – Dec. 8th

Lorenzo Lotto, 1532, Recanati
Lorenzo Lotto, 1532, Recanati

What strikes me most in this Annunciation by Lorenzo Lotto is the fact, as Carlo Argan points out,  that the miracle (the Angel delivering the Message to the Virgin Mary) is so real that even the cat gets scared and jumps away.

The Angel – on the right and in front of a beautiful illuminated garden – recieves the order by God, above, Who points out at the Virgin Mary. The Angel’s right forearm creates a link with God above (the column behind is an ideal prolongation towards the Almighty) but, at the same time, the Angel exhorts Mary to stand up and to acquire self-consciousness.

She seems to be totally taken aback and does not dare turn her face (but Truth cannot be looked at – “the essential is invisible to the eye”, as the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry teaches us).

Mary is looking at us. Is she scared? Is she searching for our support, as the mission she is called to achieve in life is too heavy for her? Maybe she is not ready yet. Maybe she will never be.

Leaving the artistical and religious subject aside for one moment, Mary’s penetrating eyes  urge me to stand up and take a move towards my own destiny, my calling in life. According to Oscar Wilde (The Portrait of Dorian Gray) “the aim of life is self-development; to realize one’s nature perfectly: that is what each of us is here for”.

Behold! I am not saying that it is easy (!)

I humbly suggest you – during your stay in Italy – to make a stop at the Museo Civico Villa Colloredo Mels in Recanati (Marche Region) where the canvas is preserved. And while you are in Recanati, may I suggest you  go and visit Giacomo Leopardi’s birth-house and take a look at his “ermo colle” (the “lonely hillside”) sung by him in his poem, The Infinite. Provided you don’t end up – like Leopardi – by shipwrecking in the immensity. Remember? You are going to Recanati to get a push to achieve your own destiny, not to shipwreck!

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