Monday, July 16, 2018

2018 Saint Anne Update

Andrea di Bartolo, Saints Joachim and Anna Giving Food to the Poor  and Offerings 
to the Temple
Italian, c. 1400-1405
Washington, National Gallery of Art
July 26th is the feast day of Saints Anne and Joachim, the parents of the Virgin Mary and the grandparents of Jesus. They, especially St. Anne, have been important saints for most of the life of the Church and are frequently featured in Christian art. 

Over several the years, since my first post in 2011, I have added various images of Saints Anne and Joachim. The number keeps growing because, as the internet has become a more widely available tool, the number of museums and libraries that make their collections available online keeps growing. Further, museums and libraries that made their collections available several years ago continue to release more material from their holdings and to upgrade the quality of those they had already shared as they continue to enhance their online presence. Since Anne and Joachim have been important for so long, we are still only seeing the tip of the iceberg of images that probably exist.

Each year I propose to continue to add to the collection of images available through this blog as new ones become accessible. I will link these images with the essays about their iconological type which I did in 2011. 

In addition, in each of these last two years I have identified new subjects within the general "Saints Anne and Joachim" theme.  Last year, for example, I came across several images that fit into a new category that I called "Parental Love". Like pictures that imagine the life of Jesus as a boy in His home in Nazareth, these images imagine the relationship between Mary, as a little girl, and her parents. 

This year I have encountered two pictures that I call "Mystical Reflections".  These differ from earlier images of Mary with her parents in that Mary is presented as the woman of the Apocalypse, the Immaculate Conception instead of as a little girl (even a little girl attended by angels).  Both the pictures belong to the later part of the Counter-Reformation era, in the late 17th to mid-18th centuries.  

So, now I present the 2018 additions to the iconography of St. Anne. Each section heading is also a link to the original article which explains the iconography. Click on the section headings to learn more.

Annunciation of Mary's Birth 
Cristobal de Villalpando, Annunciation of the Angel to Joachim
Mexican, c. 1690-1700
Mexico City, Church of San Felipe Neri
Meeting at the Golden Gate
Luca Giordano, Annunciation of the Angel to St. Joachim and the Meeting of Joachim and Anne at the Golden Gate
Italian, c. 1696
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum
This painting combines the subject matter of the painting just above, the angel's announcement to Joachim that on his return to his wife, she will become pregnant with a special female child, with the joyful meeting of husband and wife at the Golden Gate of Jerusalem.  In the far background one can also see them climbing prayerfully up the the steps of the Temple to thank God for this great gift.

Saint Anne as Teacher (Education of the Virgin)

Education of the Virgin
German, c. 1720-1730
Fürstenzell, Former Cistercian Church of the Assumption

Anne, the Root of the Tree of Salvation (the Anna selbdritt image)

Anna Selbdritt Wall Painting
German, c. 1446-1455
Lieberhausen, Evangelical Church (painted over in 1589, restored 1911-1913 and 1954)

Anna Selbdritt between Saint Nicholas and Saint Martin with Donor
German, c. 1500-1515
Frankfurt-am-Main, Abbey Church of Our Lady, Saint Anne Chapel

Anna Selbdritt Statue
German, c. 1500-1510
Paris, Musée du Louvre

Attributed to Meister mit dem Brustlatz, Anna Selbdritt, Center of St. John Altar
German, c. 1510-1520
Kiedrich, Catholic Parish Church of Saints Dionysius and Valentinus

Anna Selbdritt Statue
German, c. 1520
Unterthingau, Catholic Parish Church of Saint Nicholas

Meister R. L., The Holy Kindred
Austrian (Salzburg), 1518
Vienna, Belvedere Museum

Mystical Reflections

Francisco de Zurbaran, The Immaculate Conception with Saints Joachim and Anne
Spanish, c. 1638-1640
Edinburgh, National Galleries of Scotland

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Vision of Saints Anne and Joachim
Italian, 1759
Dresden, Gemaeldegalerie

Traditionally, a novena (period of nine days of prayer) precedes the feast day of Saints Anne and Joachim on July 26th.  It begins on July 17th.  You might want to join in this novena by reciting the following novena prayer each day.

Novena Prayer to Saint Anne

"O glorious St. Ann, you are filled with compassion for those who invoke you and with love for those who suffer! Heavily burdened with the weight of my troubles, I cast myself at your feet and humbly beg of you to take the present intention which I recommend to you in your special care.

Please recommend it to your daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and place it before the throne of Jesus, so that He may bring it to a happy issue. Continue to intercede for me until my request is granted. But, above all, obtain for me the grace one day to see my God face to face, and with you and Mary and all the saints to praise and bless Him for all eternity. Amen."

Luca Vescia, St. Anne and Mary
Italian, 1911
New York, St. Jean Baptiste Church, 
Shrine of St. Anne

If you are in the New York City area, please join the 136th novena at the Shrine of Saint Anne in the
Church of Saint Jean Baptiste on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
The schedule can be seen by clicking here.

Please note that for 2020 due to COVID-19 the novena will be drastically shortened and condensed.  Details may be found on the parish website (

To view the iconography updates from previous years see:

Saint Anne at the Met

© M. Duffy, 2018