How to wear your halo
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How to wear your Halo (and the Significance of the Snail...)
In Francesco del Cossa's painting of The Annunciation now in the Old Master Gallery in Dresden, the Angel Gabriel is clearly wearing a halo which is visibly attached to his head by a metal frame. Starting with this idiosyncratic detail, we will explore the painting as a whole, putting it in the context the theatricality of the Ferrarese 'school' of painting - of which Francesco was one of the leading members - and discussing it's relationship to other remarkable halos in art. We will also look for parallels for one of it's iconographic oddities: a snail, crawling nonchalantly across the pavement on which Gabriel kneels...