No, that's not what the angel Gabriel says to Mary in this, my favourite of all of the depictions of the Annunciation by Fra Angelico. (And yes, I am ashamed of myself for making a joke about the Annunciation.)
Anyway, I've found a decent price for my flight to Italy this September and the most reasonable route turns out to be Ottawa-Zurich-Florence. So, because flying into Rome has become so expensive, I'll begin and end this trip in Florence. Which is great, I love Florence.
Of course, my trip is focused on Umbria, and that is where I'll spend the majority of my time. My first stop is Assisi, so I figure it's about as easy to catch the train to Assisi in Florence, as it would be to travel to Assisi from Rome. I'm thinking this will work out well. I'll get to spend a few days in Florence before I fly back to Canada, which will be wonderful because I love Florence (and my favourite hotel there is about half the price as my favourite hotel in Rome!)
And one of the first places I want to return to in Florence is San Marco. The frescos in the monks' cells are amazing. And this is my favourite of the frescos, located in a hallway between cells. I have a few reproductions of this fresco, as I collect Annunciations (that is to say, I collect memories of beautiful paintings of the Annunciation, photos and inexpensive reproductions.) I love the way the wings on various versions of the angel Gabriel are painted, Mary's serenity -- even when she has been startled by the arrival of the angel -- the background scenery. I just love this theme!
There are a few different versions of the Annunciation by Fra Angelico, who was born in 1395, and was also known as Beato Angelico, Guido di Piero da Mugello, or Fra Giovanni da Fiesole. A Dominican, the painter worked in Florentine churches in the 1430s and also carried out several commissions for the Dominicans in Cortona, including the Cortona Triptych and the Annunciation panel (which I think is absolutely fabulous!). From 1438, he worked on his most important commission, the San Marco Altarpiece and the frescos for the convent of San Marco in Florence.
Here's the story behind the Annunciation – as told by Luke in his gospel. "The archangel Gabriel was sent by God to Mary. Gabriel announced to her that she was to give birth to a son, Jesus, who will be great, and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David, and he will be king over Israel for ever; his reign shall never end. '"I am the Lord's servant," said Mary; "may it be as you have said." Then the angel left her."