Joachim and Anne were a barren couple, desperate for a child, when one day, as Joachim was out in the fields, Anne received a vision from an angel, an annunciation. She learned that she would at last conceive a child.
Little did Anne know that meanwhile her husband Joachim had received a vision too, learning that they would have a child and that she would be called Mary.
Giotto depicts the ecstatic husband and wife embracing with joy, having both received these great tidings. The embrace is touching and very tender, and the birth of the Virgin Mary herself approaches, making this a wonderful moment. But I cannot help my eye wandering to the woman who stands half-cloaked in the centre of festivities, staring out from the darkness of her robes. There is something disturbing about her presence.