Giotto, The Ascension of Christ

1304-1306
Fresco
Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, Italy

As he did in the Assisi Ascension image, Giotto shows Christ in profile, reaching up toward Heaven, his hands piercing through the frame of the image. This is a vestige of the old iconography that had him striding upward as if climbing a mountain.

Giotto also adapts the mandorla from another iconographic tradition, but not the motif of angels surrounding or helping to lift it. Instead, the angels acclaim him from a bit of a distance.

Below, the Apostles kneel with the Virgin Mary as the two angels of Acts 1 ask them, "why stand you looking up to Heaven?" There are eleven Apostles, because it is not until later in Acts 1 that they choose a twelfth to fill the place left by Judas.

More of the Ascension

Source: Wikimedia Commons