This is my favorite depiction of The Annunciation. When I pray the First Joyful Mystery, this is the image I have in my mind.
Until this afternoon, I didn’t even know who had painted it! I was surprised to find out that Henry Owasso Tanner (June 21, 1859 – May 25, 1937) was an American from Pittsburgh. His mother was a born a slave but had escaped to the north and his father was a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Tanner is often regarded as a realist painter, focusing on accurate depictions of subjects. While works such as The Banjo Lesson were concerned with everyday life as an African American, Tanner later painted themes based on religious subjects, for which he is now best known. Wikipedia
Of course I had to know more about him and see more of his paintings! What an amazing man. Before becoming an artist, he received a college AND seminary education in Pittsburgh and developed a literary career. He was also a political activist. Eventually, he enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia where he was the only black student at the time. In 1891, he moved to Paris to study at Académie Julian and found an escape from the racism of the United States.
It’s poetic justice that one of his paintings – Sand Dunes at Sunset, Atlantic City (c. 1885 oil on canvas) – now hangs in the White House.