Divine Conception: The Art of the Annunciation asks the questions: How to evoke the invisible in the visible? How to convey the divine in the human?
Focussing on twelve specific aspects of the Annunciation (for instance, where Mary is reading, or where Joseph is present at the event), the book explores images (paintings, illuminated manuscripts, ivories, mosaics, sculpture, wall paintings, metal work) in the context of the period when they were made. Each chapter reflects on contemporaneous treatises, sermons, patron's requirements, devotional practices, artistic conventions, theological concerns, that informed the artist and his audience.
The works of art discussed relate to the Latin West from the earliest times, with a cut-off date towards the middle of the 16th century.
Sarah Drummond studied art history in Paris followed by postgraduate studies at the Courtauld, SOAS and Birkbeck (MA in Renaissance Studies). Her professional background is in journalism, having worked mainly as a freelance features writer. Her interest in the subject of the Annunciation goes back many decades, and during the gestation of this work she visited museums, galleries and churches all over Europe and North America. She has observed the vast majority of the works illustrated in the book, many of which can be studied in their original settings.