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Assumption

mary death scenes mary’s

The term assumption comes from the Latin adsumere , “to take up.” The belief that the body and *soul of the Virgin *Mary were taken up to *heaven after her *death is first found in late fourth-century apocryphal writings which give various accounts of her death, entombment, and bodily assumption. Accepted, and celebrated liturgically, in both western and eastern churches from at least the sixth or seventh century, the event was illustrated in art by the eighth century and became especially popular in the Romanesque and Gothic periods with the increasing veneration of Mary and the retelling of the event in the * Golden Legend . Although often linked or conflated with scenes depicting Mary’s death and her *Coronation in heaven, the Assumption is normally distinguished by the presence of *angels who surround and elevate Mary’s body. She may be shown reclining, or in *orant position, transported to heaven in a mandorla supported by angels. Although thematically related to *Ascension scenes, the angelic action required in the Assumption is distinctive. The Golden Legend specifies that the *apostles, *Christ, and Saint *Michael were also present, although they are not always represented in art. If present, Christ may be depicted holding a tiny human figure representing Mary’s soul, as common also in Dormition scenes. Frequent in Gothic sculpture, the Assumption of Mary is also often illustrated in Books of Hours *


. In late medieval art, Mary may be shown letting her belt drop down to “doubting” *Thomas to convince him of her Assumption.

Astaire, Fred (originally Frederick E.Austerlitz Jr.) [next] [back] Association, The

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