Matthew Rob Brown


Enough Flashlight

Annonciation - Flandres - Milieu du XVIe siècle (Musée Cluny, Paris)

A single Angel Gabriel, enough flashlight, filling surely not waiting for
the sponsor, the painter therefore summoned an army of angels in order
to make the most convincing scene!
(Google translation of the original
French caption.)

Into the narrow room a ladder, like Jacob's, comes down; Gabriel and his
entourage all in light at once appear, to infuse it with a word from God
which waits upon Mary's reply. Above the window the Holy Spirit, the dove,
also hovers. No action, no overshadow, no salvation, without Mary's Yes.

Blue Mary: her book, her lily, her curtained bed. Room more sumptuous
than we perhaps imagine, a place fit for this Sixteenth Siècle Mary, who
has cast her eyes downward, as if to catch the angel's message not with eyes
or ears alone, but with heart. She will consider it there, turn it, view it in every
facet, long after she has waved it into life.

Enough flashlight! I don't know what to do with my emptiness. This cloud
of dark at midday—I wish you 'd show yourself, send Gabriel to bring a word
with tongs from the forge, another word—but could I take it if you did?

Quiet, two figures converse in the street beyond her Gothic window
—more like tongues of aspen by the Seine, than those of angels.