25 March 2010

+JMJ+

The New Eve

I used to know an Anglo-Indian girl who didn't like eating apples because she thought they were the actual fruit Adam and Eve had been forbidden by God Himself to eat.

No matter how much I tried to explain that:

a) the use of apples in the artistic depiction of Eden is more due to a Latin pun (malus/sin and malum/apple) than to any ancient tradition . . .

. . . and . . .

b) even if apples were the forbidden fruit, any Catholic theologian in the world would say that it is all right to eat them now (though the explanation would vary according to each theologian's style) . . .

. . . she was determined never to eat apples or anything made from apples, or even drink apple juice, as a matter of moral discipline.

I thought of her this evening when I bought a whole litre of apple juice to go with my one-woman celebratory dinner for today's Solemnity of the Annuciation. For it is all right now. The New Adam and the New Eve have made it all right.


3 Depictions of the Annunciation
Which I Love

Andrea della Robbia, Terra-cotta Relief

The lilies, which symbolise Mary's purity, may be in between the Heaven half and the earth half of this relief, but they are not a divider. On the contrary, they seem like a marker--a kind of landmark for orienting someone who needs directions. It was as if all of Heaven had been waiting for those lilies to be in full bloom. The Annunciation, and therefore, the Incarnation, happened at just the right time.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

What about this painting don't I love? Every time I look at it, I see something new. This time around, my eyes are drawn to the blue cloth. Mary's traditional colours are blue and white, but she isn't wearing the blue in this painting. And I think of the eternal split-second before she spoke Fiat.

John Collier

And this is perhaps the best depiction of the Annunciation from our own age. Other artists have painted Mary in "modern dress"--but the effect has been lost on us because those masterpieces are hundreds of years old themselves. But Collier's teenage Mary looks like she could be one of my high school students. (And just look at those "landmark lilies" again!)

Image Sources: a) By Andrea della Robbia, b) By Dante Gabriel Rossetti, c) By John Collier

17 comments:

FrB said...

Ack...

Rossetti & Collier's depicitons are hideous.

No love for Fra Angelica?

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Not for his Annunciations, no . . .

You really don't like the Pre-Raphaelites, do you? LOL! ;)

christopher said...

I will always love Rossetti, always.

christopher said...

Hey, I just noticed the new profile pic, nice! And the bonus is that I get to add a second comment, because it is after all a contest.

r said...

I don't want to win this contest, I'd better go back to lurking like a good little boy. I'll just say that the blue dress in Collier's is perfect.

FrB said...

Hahahahahahaha!

You're quite right... I have a visceral prejudice against them. ;)

Mark in Spokane said...

The identification of apples with the fruit in the Garden is because of Latin. In Latin the word for "evil" is "malus." The word of "apple" is also "malus." So, a play on words!

Last stuff I read about it indicated that the rabbis thought the fruit was most likely like a pomagranete.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Christopher: Ah, the contest! Remember those good old antebellum days when you were #1?

(If there were a way to give you extra credit for liking Rossetti, I'd find a way to do it!)

r: I remember really liking Mary's socks and shoes! =P

FrB: Which I never understood, by the way . . .

Mark: I did read that about the pomegranate, but I wasn't entirely sure when I drafted this post, and so left it out. Thanks!

christopher said...

Michael seems to have set a new standard, no one will ever catch him (fairly).

Dauvit Balfour said...

Ah, I get to enjoy this on the day after. It's as if the solemnity is shedding a joyous glow on its neighbors, and even on this penitential day, I can smile to remember yesterday (which, sadly, I celebrated by watching Crank with my roommate, a very un-solemnity type of movie that left me feeling a little cold and dark... three shots of whiskey and Compline later, I felt better... I think this makes me a "bad Catholic").

christopher said...

"three shots of whiskey and Compline later, I felt better" - LOL!!! I can't even fathom any other religion that could attempt to fit this statement into their most liberal parameters! God bless you, Dauvit.

christopher said...

Movin' on up, tied for third...

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Dauvit: I've missed you, too! I'm glad to see you again. =)

Christopher: I am tempted to give you more fuel for your competitive fire! Perhaps I should do another tournament bracket . . . and do it so badly that you feel compelled to explain how it should have been done. Or maybe write a post about boats. Or cows.

Let me know. I'm pretty flexible!

christopher said...

Any of the above! (Or Ayn Rand...)

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Ayn Rand! =D If you can wait until after Holy Week, I will be happy to oblige.

Belfry Bat said...

the thing that occurs to me --- and I know I'm echoing some dead English Catholic writer, probably Chesterton, for it was whomever it was pointed this out to me --- the thing is that none of these angels looks properly terrifying! So many angelic greetings begin "Be not afraid!", recall, that one wonders what it must entail. I can think of counter-examples in Genesis and Ezekiel, but that's about it.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

As someone else pointed out to me (Don't ask who he was, as I don't remember but suspect he was one of those convert apologists), Mary is practically the only one who doesn't get the "Be not afraid!" greeting. She is perturbed, too, of course, but it is by the news that she is to bear the Son of God rather than by the appearance of the Angel.