On March 25, 1482, a carrier pigeon flew into the city of Ascoli Piceno. The sender was the Pope. In the letter, he said that the city was getting back its sovereignty. The dictatorship of Francesco Sforza is over.
Ascoli Piceno is a very ancient city. It was founded as much as 200 years before Rome.
For its inhabitants with such a history, it was an incredible event! And they wanted to perpetuate the memory of him.
The artist Carlo Crivelli was commissioned to paint a painting on the theme of the Annunciation. After all, just the day before, a holiday dedicated to this biblical event was celebrated in the city. And the townspeople saw the connection between the news that the dove brought them and the good news once received by the Mother of God.
In addition, in the 15th century, the vast majority of paintings were religious. And it was quite logical to perpetuate the memory of an important event through a biblical story.
So, Crivelli depicted the city itself. We see two two-storey palazzos in the foreground and a narrow street between them.
Of course, the master embellished the city. He is actually very handsome. But not so much!
The artist made it look like an earthly paradise. Like, here we are free. And now we will build the city of the future. Beautiful, heavenly. From here came the peacock, and incredible ornaments, and golden details on the walls.
Also, pay attention to the city wall in the background. It looks like it was destroyed and rebuilt. That is, the city is taken care of, it is decorated.
We see pigeons everywhere. After all, it was they who brought the message of liberation. And there is a man standing on the wall, he just opened a letter with a message from the Pope.
In the foreground we see St. Mary in one of the rooms of the palazzo. And behind the wall – the archangel Gabriel.
But it’s clear that someone is bothering him…
Archangel Gabriel brings good news. And nearby, another saint looks into his face and demonstrates something. For what?
This is Saint Emidius, the patron saint of the city. He shows the archangel the layout of the city of Ascoli.
Well, the inhabitants so wanted that St. Emidius would certainly be depicted.
So Crivelli handed him a model and advised him to strongly demonstrate it to the archangel.
And now about the object in the sky, which is often identified by viewers as a UFO.
Yes, this object is very similar to a flying saucer.
But if you look closely at the details, then these are clouds. They are located in a bagel. And also inside this “donut” there are two circles of angels. Their heads, wings and arms are visible.
That is, the master decided to depict the place in the sky from which the Holy Spirit arose. He went down to Saint Mary.
And why does the artist depict a cucumber?
You can see it at the very bottom of the painting next to the apple.
With an apple, everything is clear. The symbol of original sin, which Saint Mary has to atone for.
And the cucumber? In the Old Testament there are words about the daughter of Zion, who is like a tent * among melon melons. That is, despite the sins around her, she remains a pure soul.
* Workers lived in such tents while caring for the harvest. Insects and heat did not penetrate there.
Melons in those days were elongated and somewhat similar to cucumbers. The latter were brought from the East to Europe several centuries before Crivelli’s painting. And they were a popular vegetable.
The New Testament Zion, Holy Mary, has already begun to be perceived as one that, like a tent among cucumber melons, is not subject to sins.
More than anyone, Crivelli liked to depict this symbol of sin next to an apple. Sometimes these cucumbers are too big and conspicuous.
A little girl
Pay attention to the little girl standing on the stairs on the left side of the picture. It seems that this child is the only character who sees that at this very moment a miracle is happening. The very miracle that is difficult to notice in the hustle and bustle of life. Adults do not see what this girl sees, because everyone is busy with their daily affairs and worries.
Children see miracles because they simply believe in them! And this art of believing in miracles, we adults still have to learn from these little earthly angels.
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