In a little corner with a little book
This detail of the Virgin Mary is from Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of The Annunciation, considered one of his earliest extant works, and produced when he was around the age of 20.
A source that inspired its composition was the popular book on Christian meditation by Thomas á Kempis, The Imitation of Christ.
One of the quotes attributed to Thomas is: “I have sought everywhere for peace, but I have found it not, save in nooks and in books.” – often adapted to a shorter version: “In a little corner with a little book”. Hence why Mary, an imitation of Christ, is portrayed sat in a corner reading Holy Scripture.
The cornerstones, or quoins, point to a passage from the Old Testament. Those on the left column above Mary’s right hand are shaped to represent the letter E and the numeral 33. Those on the the right represent the numeral 2. Together they point to Exodus 33:2 and the words the Lord said to Moses: “I will send an angel in front of you” – the angel in the painting, Gabriel.
Our Lady of Medjugorje refers to the six visionaries as her angels in the sense that, like Gabriel, angels are messengers bringing God’s word to the people. As the angel Gabriel was sent by God to Mary, so too has the Blessed Mother been sent to us with God’s merciful call to salvation.
In her message given last year on the Feast of the Annunciation, Our Lady renewed her call when she said:
Dear children! I am listening to your cry and prayers for peace. For years, Satan has been fighting for war. That is why God sent me among you to guide you on the way of holiness, because humanity is at a crossroad. I am calling you to return to God and to God's Commandments that it may be good for you on earth, and that you may come out of this crisis into which you have entered because you are not listening to God who loves you and desires to save you and lead you to a new life. Thank you for having responded to my call.
Detail of The Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci, Uffizi, Florence