The Assumption of the Virgin
When I went to the art institute of Chicago, I had gone through a few galleries of paintings, sculptures, and artifacts, but none that necessarily caught my eye to the extent that this specific painting did. My experience in the Mister and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson, gallery 215, was the one I felt I had most connection, interest, and background knowledge of from this class and my religious lessons throughout my life.
My favorite painting was The Assumption of the Virgin. This enormous painting by El Greco is based on the apocryphal account by Saint James, who is depicted here holding his book. The subject was represented by numerous artists, but El Greco’s take of the theme is much more touching and striking than others. It is said that he divided his canvas into two zones. On the bottom are the apostles on earth and above is a circle of angels, clearly representing the symbolism of heaven and earth, reminding me of when we discussed Apolalyptic literature which is prevelant from the text of the Old Testament. The apostles are in a circle and all turned toward each other in amazement and confusion. Above the apostles, angels express their joy. Mary rises from her tomb on a crescent moon which symbolizes her purity. She has entered heaven (upper half of the painting) known as the divine realm, but yet the bottom hem of her dress hangs over the crescent moon (lower half of painting) which connects her to earth.
El Greco’s work is an example of the Mannerist style, which I was able to remember from Humanities when I studied different art styles. The painting is over six feet wide and twice as tall surrounded by a wooden frame painted a metallic gold color. It is done using the method of oil on canvas demonstrating texture. You can see vivid brush strokes on the clothes of Mary, the angels, and apostles.
“The painting illustrates mans-no God’s- physical act of lifting Mary up creating a truly dynamic...