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Example of golden report with Cesare VECELLIO

I photographed this announcement in a small church in Venice (which explains the crucifix and the flowers visible in the foreground) because I was challenged by the finger raised in the sky of gabriel just between his face and that of the Virgin Mary .


I immediately wondered if this composition, face-finger-face was not managed by the golden ratio.


VECELLIO Annunciation 1590 Venice

Cesare VECELLIO - Annunciation - 1590 - Venice - photo guy mauchamp

But when I started my tracks with the technique of the looks of the characters, therefore from the eyes of Gabriel or Marie, I noticed that the golden report was not at all present. However, thanks to my research in pictorial archeology, I know that nothing is left to chance in a composition, as Plutarch already mentioned in antiquity.

So I started looking for concrete elements.

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The relationship between Gabriel's gaze, his index finger and Marie's gaze is not managed by the rule of composition of the golden report.

I remembered the biblical content of the words of the Annunciation: Gabriel speaks and Mary listens!

But by drawing this proposition with a straight line, it is not possible to connect Gabriel's mouth to Marie's ear while passing by the index finger pointed at the sky!

I also remembered that Jesus, Mary and the saints benefited from the technique of angles of gaze: the line of the Soul which starts from the forehead of the person (see the page "The soul of the characters"). So I drew a line of soul which begins from the point between Marie's eyebrows to pass on Gabriel's index and which ends ... on Gabriel's nose!

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The line between Gabriel's nose, the point of Marie's soul and passing through her index finger is managed by the golden ratio:

from nose to index = Phi, and from index to point of soul = 1

With this purple line managed by the golden ratio, we should develop the symbolism of the nose in a religious scene. I have encountered this iconography of the nose many times and it would require further investigation with the publication of a specific article on this subject.


I hear the detractors who will say, not without insight, that with this nose and this point of the soul, this line is only an arrangement for putting on Cinderella's shoe by finding a golden ratio where it doesn’t there are certainly none.


A sensible remark which requires checking by other means if this line corresponds to a logic of composition and if it has a real meaning. However, it turns out that checking this line with other composition techniques is a real pleasure.

To do this, simply draw the grid of the Heaven and Earth squares, a grid which is almost always present in a composition of a religious scene. Then you have to extend this purple Gabriel-Index-Marie line to the edge of the format.


VECELLIO Annunciation composition analysis, square sky and earth grid

This purple line, Gabriel's Nose - Index - Line of the soul of Mary, comes to point precisely on the edge of the format the corner of the square Ciel (in blue).

This grid of the Ciel square places an eye and a little finger of two angels, and the Terre square passes through Marie's middle finger and Gabriel's belt knot.

The node symbolizing what connects. Here would be this angel Gabriel who is the link between the divine word in the Heaven square, and the incarnation with Mary in the Earth square.

The two faces of Gabriel and Marie are also inscribed in the superposition, one could say in the link, of the sky square and the earth square.

All these elements show that the Earth-Sky grid was widely used by Vecellio.


Gabriel's lines of sight also offer an interesting verification and reading (below).

VECELLIO Annonciation regard de Gabriel

Gabriel's line of gaze (in red) is wedged in the corner of the earth square and his 9 ° line of gaze (in blue) points to the soul of Mary (the point between the eyebrows according to religious iconography).

Gabriel's line of sight (in red) is precisely wedged with the marker technique. Indeed we notice the golden tunic raised by the wind, a point of which forms what I called a "marker".

When the vertical of Gabriel's gaze (in red) is placed on this marker, his horizontal line of gaze is lodged in the corner of the Earth square. And her 9 ° gaze line in blue meets the point of Marie's soul (see the technique of gaze angles).

The two Heaven and Earth squares are therefore each pointed in their corners by Marie and Gabriel respectively.


Finally to finish, if we draw the lines of the soul of Mary (in red), its vertical directed towards the sky will point precisely the eye of the dove sent by God.

E tl angle "Perfect" 30 ° (green) peak nose Gabriel.

VECELLIO ligne Ame MArie.png

The line of the soul of Marie (in red) is wedged on the eye of the dove and its line of look at 30 ° (in green) again points to Gabriel's nose.

In fact, the purple line managed by the divine golden report, also called "divine report" is also that of the soul of Mary in green which seems to see deep down within itself the perfection of this announcement made by Gabriel .


The circle is thus closed for this meaningful check.




Do not hesitate to leave your comment, your questions at the bottom of the page, my pleasure is to be able to exchange with you on the pictorial composition. Thank you.





Work protected by copyright © guymauchamp U79J1B9 and a deposit at SGDL Paris.

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