In Collier’s “Annunciation,” Mary is a young schoolgirl dressed in blue and white. When the angel Gabriel comes to her, she is reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 7 verse 14, where the prophet proclaims the sign that God will give: “The virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.”
Some of the traditional elements can be found in the painting: The lilies are a recognizable symbol of Mary’s purity. The intact glass pane next to the door typifies Mary’s perpetual virginity. And look closely: A dove, representing the Holy Spirit, rests on a nearby house—not presuming Mary’s response but awaiting it.