Annunciation, marble, life size, Duomo, Carrara.
Michelangelo spent time in the mountains above Carrara quarrying marble for his sculptures. I imagined that he entered this church just as I had for Sunday Mass.
I had my backpack and carving tools. The old priest came to talk to me in the pew. I told him I was a sculptor and with enthusiasm I showed him my photographs of the Annunciation figures. We spent some time extolled the quiet beauty of the sculpture. He said that its outstanding message is one of humility.
Before Mass a woman came to me and said, Father wants to see you in the sanctuary, follow me. Father Santucci gave me a hug and said to everyone there, here is a marble sculptor like our own Michelangelo. Then he found and gave me a book about the history of the Cathedral and its art.
The next day up on the mountain, at my friend’s Carving School, I mentioned how I was moved by the Annunciation sculpture so that I wanted to stay there and lay
down on the floor. An English woman had seen the Annunciation and she said she cried and that she too did not want to leave.
The work is Gothic, 14th Century Pisan style. There is no accurate anatomy that would come later with the Renaissance. The figures are thin and elegant with strong simple shapes. The hair provides animating rhythms.
The grace of these figures is exactly what I needed for inspiration for a commission that I have begun for a full figure of Saint Philomena. No other style or way of carving would be right for the 13 year old Virgin and Martyr who was killed by Emperor Diocletian. My dear friend Drew is dedicating his vineyard in Washington State to her.
Duomo, Carrara. 1099.
The Duomo is the first Medieval church to be constructed entirely of marble. The marble used for its construction is Apuan marble, more commonly known as Carrara marble.[
Archangel Gabriel Virgin Mary