“Artists in the Christian tradition have been inspired by the New Testament stories, and one story in particular has prompted them to reflect on the nature of beauty and its place in our lives: the story of the Annunciation. In this story we encounter a moment of interaction between the human and the divine, when an angel appears in the most private and protected part of a woman’s home.
“The light that radiates from the angel falls not only on Mary but on all the objects that surround her, showing the fitness of the woman for her holy task in the order and beauty of her room. The Annunciation by the Dutch master Joos van Cleve (1485–1540) illustrates the point. None of the objects among which Mary sits is purely functional: everything has an edge, an embellishment, a kind of gentle excess. The furnishings are not just accidentally there: they are there because they are also owned, shaped, and cherished. Mary has arranged the room with beauty in mind, so as to be a fit welcome for an angel.”
The quote above is the first paragraph (divided by me into two) in an article
by the late Roger Scruton, “The Beauty of Belonging”,
published several years ago in Plough magazine.
3 thoughts on “The order and beauty of her room.”
Oh, gosh, I know I need to bring better order to my room!! You make me feel sorry for my guardian angel. 😦
Haha — the painting had that effect on me, too!
I love reading about the symbolism and techniques of these artists of old whose work is so exquisite. Thanks for this one.