First half of the 14th century
Detail from the west façade, Orvieto Cathedral, Italy
Mary and a quite old Elizabeth embrace while a young woman holds back a curtain, a detail very similar to one seen a century earlier in
from the Vézelay Abbey reliefs and eight centuries earlier in
the Poreč Cathedral Annunciation. In those two images the house is made to look like a church. Here in Orvieto, where the space for the composition is very limited, the same idea is expressed by the Gothic arch above the curtain rod.
At Mary's back a woman with mature features, probably not one of the virgins who accompany Mary's visit in some versions, carries a small pack on her shoulder. Is she a servant?
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More of the Visitation
Photographed at the cathedral by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.