Annuntiatio Domini: Metaphoric conceptualization and gesture analysis in painted representations of the Annunciation

Fabio Indìo Massimo Poppi, Peter Kravanja


In this article, we analyze ten artistic paintings of the Annunciation ranging from the XV century to the XX century in order to describe how the interaction between pictorially represented gestures and other pictorial elements allows them to convey more abstract meanings. Applying a historical approach to the gestures expressed by Mary, we show how — despite the different artistic approaches and sensitivities — her hand gestures always have a primary importance in conveying the meanings of PRUDENCE, CAU¬TION, FEAR, SURPRISE, CONCERN and GRATITUDE. We show how such gestures can be related to ordinary linguistic expressions that present analogous meanings. It is thus shown how gestural metaphor may interact with other modalities in pictorial representations.

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