Guariento di Arpo, Coronation of the Virgin Altarpiece: The Resurrection and the Ascension
Tempera and gold leaf on panel
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California
The left panel combines two traditional Resurrection image types in the West. In the first tradition Christ emerges from a sepulcher carrying a red-cross banner. In this adaptation there is an empty tomb and sitting on it is the angel of Matthew 28:2-4:
And behold, there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him, the guards were struck with terror, and became as dead men."
The dazed guards are in the lower left. Fissures in the rock signify the earthquake. On the right, from the second image tradition, the resurrected Christ tells Mary, "Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father" (John 20:17). He carries the banner that is usually part of the first tradition. His right hand bears the mark of the nail that pierced it.
In the right panel, Mary and the Apostles watch Christ ascend into Heaven. As is customary in this period, Mary is the most prominent of the onlookers, although she is not mentioned in the gospel accounts (Mark 16:19, Luke 24:50) nor in Acts (1:9). Only eleven Apostles are pictured because of the defection and suicide of Judas. In Acts "a cloud received him out of their sight," but in the image Christ sits on the cloud as angels carry it aloft.
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Go to the page describing the altarpiece as a whole.
Read more about The Resurrection.
Read more about The Ascension.
Photographed at the site by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.