Investigating Claims of Eroticism in Images of the Annunciation
The usefulness of religious images to the Christian Church in late-medieval Europe had long been appreciated, but their function was most clearly expressed from the time of Thomas Aquinas (1225-74) onwards. Images were to instruct the illiterate and the ignorant, to remind devotees about the mysteries of the faith by reference to the exemplary lives of the saints, and to stimulate devotion (Welch 137). Naturalism, which began to emerge in the early fourteenth century, can be seen as a logical extension of these aims.
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