‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’ (Luke 1:35).
The painting carries symbolic meaning. Young Mary is undergoing baptism and baptism in the Spirit as she conceives the Christ child. The floating lily and her nakedness indicate her virginal purity and identity with Edenic innocence. Her baptism is a death and resurrection experience; Mary dies to her childhood to live anew as a mother, as indicated by her physical maturity.
The dove, representing the Holy Spirit, hovers above her at the moment of conception yet the light casts a cruciform shadow across her belly, for her Child is destined to suffer and die for the sins of the world. The light is ambivalent for this is a liminal moment of unique transition. The barely visible underpainting of fire lights the far shore; air, earth, fire and water – all creation begins its redemption from this moment on.
Mary is at peace, for as the rain passes, the dove carries an olive twig reminiscent of Noah’s dove whose olive branch signalled the cessation of judgement. She will not fear, for she is the new ark, the heavenly Jerusalem incarnate, the church of the firstborn, and the first of an uncountable multitude in whom Christ will dwell by faith.
Oil on canvas board 30" x 20" (760 mm x 510 mm) + old gold frame.