Three years ago I saw for the first time The Annunciation mosaic, my first reaction was of amazement and it still being. Each time I pass by the Annunciation mosaic I cannot miss giving a glance to it. There is something in the mosaic that is hiding and catches my attention every time I pass by. As Sister Hilda gave me some materials for class about icons, I have been discovering why the Annunciation mosaic always grabs my attention. The Annunciation mosaic is always inviting me to read between the lines in its color and in my life.
The Annunciation mosaic in Mount Angel Seminary is located at the main entrance of the Annunciation building named after the mosaic. Everyone that enters the building cannot pass by without see the mosaic. The mosaic is composed of the Archangel Gabriel to the left side and the Virgin Mary to the right side of the mosaic. The Archangel Gabriel and Mary are facing each other and at the same time looking up to the center where an image of the Holy Spirit represented by a dove is located. The Archangel Gabriel is in a position as if he were talking to Mary, we can noticed this by the position of hands, feet and since he is facing Mary. Mary is in front of a house or room as if she is going out of it. She is facing to the Archangel Gabriel and is holding a spindle. The Archangel Gabriel is holding a scroll on the left hand. To the upper center of the mosaic is a table with a linen, a book and a dove on top of the book. The beautiful scene invites one to pause for a second and read the message that it wants to transmit.
The mosaic is in a very illuminated area that allows the mosaic to show the beauty of its colors. I can always notice the gold color in the background, the red in Mary’s vestments, and the green in the angel’s robes and the red linen in the upper center of the mosaic. These colors always catch my attention from the mosaic, but why am I attracted to the colors? What is what the colors want to tell me? Now I am sure that the author of the mosaic does not put those colors in the mosaic just because those are nice or to make it beautiful, but to transmit a Spiritual meaning.
Any sacred image is a representation of something related to God, but a sacred image is also made to lead us to God. As I think of the Annunciation passage I can picture the Archangel Gabriel and Mary, the disposition of Mary to do the will of God, the love of God toward us and God that become man as is describe in the gospels. The Annunciation mosaic describes all this, but it is only possible to notice if I read between the lines and not just by seeing it. Now if I once more stand by the mosaic and carefully observe it, I can see what is hidden.
I could read that the green color of the Archangel Gabriel’s cloak is often used to represent the Holy Spirit, and here is used to represent that the Holy Spirit sent the Archangel Gabriel....