Brian Matthew Whirledge paints traditional Orthodox Byzantine icons and wall paintings for churches and homes. This blog showcases his work and artistic process in creating Orthodox icons. View his work and contact him at brianwhirledge.com
The Annunciation to the Theotokos. Egg tempera and gold on panel. 10x12” 2021.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you! Blessed are you among women!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. +Luke 1:25-38
This great feast announces the beginning of the Gospel and the reversal of our first parents’ fall. I painted this icon to demonstrate the Annunciation as the reversal of the Fall. The Virgin Theotokos, the New Eve, is enthroned in a paradisiacal walled garden, like our first mother Eve lived in the garden of Eden. The first Eve was deceived by a seraphic serpent, the New Eve receives the Annunciation from an Archangel. The bodiless nature of God’s messenger is depicted with a dynamic, mannerist posture and twisting movement, to contrast with the deceptive serpent. The New Adam is conceived in the womb of the New Eve; the Old Eve was fashioned from the side of the Old Adam. As the Living Temple, the Theotokos sits under a ciborium (altar canopy) as she accepts the Gospel and consents to God’s will in perfect obedience, undoing the disobedience of Eve.