Juan Rodríguez Juárez
The Ascension of Christ

Mexico, 1720
Oil on panel
Pinacoteca del Templo de San Felipe Neri "La Profesa"
Mexico City

Christ is surrounded by angels and brilliant light, an effect pioneered in the early 16th century and fully developed in the Baroque. This responds to scripture's emphasis on Christ's "glorification," even while the red wounds on his hands and feet remind the viewer of how that glorification was attained.

The mandorla that lost favor in the 16th century is faintly echoed in the shape of the clouds that surround Christ.

The brightly illuminated angel below speaks the words HIC JESUS QUI ASSUMPTUS EST A VOBIS IN CAELUM SIC VENIET, "This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come…" (Acts 1:11, which continues "…as you have seen him going into heaven.") In Acts 1:10 it is two "men" who say this to the apostles, but in the art they are pictured as angels, when they are pictured at all.

In the foreground are St. Peter (bald head, short beard) and Mary (blue mantle). Their heads and the angel's cloak seem illuminated not from the source behind Christ but from one in front of the frame. There may be a theological reason for this – for example, God's omnipresence – or more prosaically the painter may have had in mind a window across from the intended position of the painting.

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Source: Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.