Annunciation with St. Emidius

By Carlo Crivelli

This is an image of the painting “Annunciation with St. Emidius” (1486), by Artist: Carlo Crivelli (c. 1435 1495 – Italian Renaissance Painter) and is currently displayed at the National Gallery of London.

UFO enthusiats believe they see a saucer-like Unidentified Flying Object sending some kind of light beam down from the sky onto the crown which adorns the head of the Virgin Mary.

Most UFO believers use this low quality image of the saucer-like object in the top right as proof of a UFO.

Here is a high quality closeup of the “UFO”:

What we have above is not a UFO, but a circle of clouds inside which there are two circles of small angels.

This is a very common way of representing the “Divinity”, or God, and is evident in many other historically sacred works of art throughout the medieval and renaissance period.

The dove with its gentle loving nature represents the presence of the Holy Spirit and the virtues of peace, meekness, and purity. It is among birds what the lamb is among animals.

The dove represents the Holy Spirit descending towards the Virgin Mary.

The Annunciation refers to the Immaculate Conception, i.e. the virgin birth when the Holy Spirit “Touched” the Virgin Mary.

Here are a few examples of the cloud of angels being used to represent the divinity.

An Annunciation by Luca Signorelli:

The cupola of the Church of Parma painted by Correggio and a Madonna with Child by Lorenzo Lotto:

Gustave Doré’s vortex of “angels in the clouds” in this illustration of Dante’s Paradise, Chant XXXI (mid 1800s):

Here is a series of Byzantine annunciations with rays descending from an abstract form in the sky which represents the divinity:

Conclusion: In the painting “the Annunciation” by Carlo Crivelli there are no UFOs: The ray reaching the Madonna comes from two circles of little angels inside a main circle of clouds, as in many other representations of God appearing in medieval and renaissance paintings.

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* The information contained herein is based primarily on the work of Diego Cuoghi and the sources listed below:
1. Bailey, Colin J. The Art Quiz Book: 2000+ Questions on Painters and Paintings. Station Press: Scotland, 1995.