In the quietness of an enclosed garden filled with symbolic plants, or glimpsed inside a sturdy house, a young woman reads quietly, blissfully unaware that her life is about to change. Not just her life, but that of the western world and beyond. Approaching her, almost unwilling to interrupt her thoughts, an angel is poised to break the news, to make the great announcement. Whatever your personal beliefs, it’s hard to deny the impact Christianity would have on the world so the Annunciation by Gabriel to Mary, telling her that she was to bear a son was one of the most popular images of the Middle Ages, more popular indeed than the Nativity itself. This lecture reveals the key players in the story, dissects the symbolism of Mary and the Annunciation and examines the world-changing importance of that particular moment. It is richly illustrated with gorgeous images from the fourth to the sixteenth century.