(late 16th century)

The Dormition of the Mother of God

Tempera on wood with gold leaf, 37 x 29 cm
Musei Vaticani, Vatican

The iconographic scheme of the Dormition was formed in Byzantium in the course of the ninth and tenth centuries. The present icon shows Christ in glory, escorted by candle-bearing angels, within a mandorla surmounted by a seraph with flaming wings. Bearing in his arms the soul of his mother in the form of a newborn infant in swaddling clothes, Christ prepares to take her with him into the glory of heaven. Around the recumbent Virgin on her deathbed below are gathered the apostles. Two small angels fly down from above and join in the general lamentation; their faces, bathed in tears, are buried in their hands, covered in turn by their mantles as a mark of veneration.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.