Annunciation, Location in Art

Q: Where did the Annunciation take place? Art shows different scenes.

A: The oldest example of a western representation of the Annunciation with Mary kneeling next to a source and with a pitcher or amphora in her hand is dated back to the seventh century (Milano, ivory cover). The motif of source or more specifically fountain is well known in Marian iconography (for example, Mistra, thirteenth century, Regensburg, ~ 1200, a.d.). There are basically two traditions of the Annunciation iconography: one situating it at a cistern or fountain; the other favoring the interior of a house. Both are influenced by the apocryphal gospels. Streams and brooks as such are not classical motifs per se of the Annunciation scene, at least not to the same degree as fountain/cistern, which does not mean that there are no exceptions.

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