If we presume the annunciations to Joseph and Mary took place literally, they become so different from us that we can't possibly identify with them, especially as a family.
Without annunciations, we can presume Joseph, Mary and Jesus had lots of things to work out during their time together.
All devote themselves to religious topics in their other works, and those who produce other Annunciations may do so in a more conservative manner than in the ones I have selected.
21) On this model of reading, these Annunciations, in accord with the humanist spirit of the Renaissance, become more accessible, recognizably ordinary, and polyvalent as well as sacred and extraordinary in their meaning for us.
Though space does not permit analysis of further Annunciations in this courtship mode, I will mention two others.
The story of the ANNUNCIATION in the Gospel of Luke has been portrayed richly and variously in the visual arts from the earliest centuries of Christianity.
In accord with the miracle that it represents the Annunciation is thus removed from the taint of earthly sexuality, and in works of art depicting the scene Gabriel and Mary act out their parts as divine messenger and gracious recipient of God's Word.
Nevertheless, the angel is proclaiming a conception, and this fact does make its way symbolically into Annunciation iconography.
In keeping with the doctrinal import of the subject, nonetheless, the Annunciation was not traditionally portrayed in such a way as to exploit the sexual implications of Mary's encounter.
Along with the decorous posture and disposition of the figures, the spatial conception and structural arrangement of Annunciation art functioned to keep Mary and Gabriel apart.
The shift contributed to the new orientation of Annunciation art to recognizably human gestures and responses, for once Mary and Gabriel were brought together, it became possible to portray them in closer contact and more personal interaction.
As the figures of the Annunciation are drawn together through the fifteenth century a new way of reading them as human drama is opened up, dynamically illustrated in the Annunciation of Leonardo da Vinci.
The Annunciation scene in Luke's gospel may be divided into phases, ranging from the angel's greeting, to Mary's apprehension or resistance or doubt, to her glad acceptance of God's commandment or meek compliance to it, depending on how we take her agreement.
When the tilt of her body is exaggerated, Mary may appear to be taking a graceful step, and in Botticelli's Uffizi Annunciation her action might be likened to a dance step (Figure 3).