James Tissot, Annunciation, 1886–1896. Gouache on paper,  Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York.

Tissot was a French painter who originally was taken with modern life portraits; however, in 1885, he experienced a religious reconversion, which led him to spend the rest of his life illustrating the Bible. In later commentaries within his illustrated edition of the New Testament, Tissot wrote about the hierarchies and anatomies of angels. Citing biblical texts, he believed that angels had specific attributes depending on their level of service. In this painting, he adhered to art-historical customs of placing the archangel Gabriel to the left of Mary. He portrayed her in white robes, symbolizing purity, and set her apart from the detailed patterning of the furnishings that he painted to signify the authenticity of the exotic Middle Eastern setting.

James Tissot, Annunciation. Gouache on paper, 1886–1896. Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York.

The angel Gabriel's announcement to Mary that she would become Jesus' mother. Celebrated as a Christian holiday, often around March 25.

A collection of first-century Jewish and early Christian writings that, along with the Old Testament, makes up the Christian Bible.

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