Lest we forget: March 25 is the Feast of the Annunciation.
Above is an unusual depiction from the great artist John Collier. He created it for a co-cathedral in West Virginia, and offers this explanation:
“In my Annunciation the angel Gabriel stands on a rotting stump which has a living branch growing out of it showing hope and prosperity. Mary is gathering figs when he comes. The stump is the dead stump of Jesse, David’s father, whose lineage of kings, after they are long dead, will yield a new King born to them Jesus, the son of David. You may notice I have made this branch a Sugar Maple tree — the state tree of West Virginia where this work is placed. Mary is shown here as the Second Eve.
The first Eve sinned and covered herself with the leaves of a fig tree. Jesus, you may remember, cursed a fig tree because He came to it and found no fruit. Mary, the Second Eve, is entwined in a fruitful fig tree, fruitful Israel, without sin. I do not know if any other art work has portrayed the fig tree and Mary. In this way it calls our attention to the connection between Mary and Eve, our sin and her sinlessness.”