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In this icon Gabriel is extending an olive branch of peace to Mary and is also holding a staff of an archangel, to denote his superior hierarchy above other angels. He is dressed as a church deacon in his role as a servant of God, doing God’s work and serving God’s will. Mary is dressed in blue which is historically the colour attributed to virgins. Her brown undergarment has two symbolic meanings: 1) it is a colour akin to earth or mud to denote her humble human lineage from Adam and Eve and 2) a colour historically attributed to mothers. While Gabriel raises his arm in declaration that the Spirit will overshadow her, Mary’s hand gestures are in awed reverence.

Often in icons you will see the use of curtains of varying colour. These are not simply used to denote the interior of a room but in fact are used to suggest that a miraculous revelation is occurring i.e. ‘a big reveal’ of God’s power or God’s promise.


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