Retable of the Madonna Lactans: Detail, the Assumption with St. Thomas

Second half of the 16th century
Oil on canvas
Old Cathedral Chapter Room, Salamanca, Spain

According to The Passing of Mary St. Thomas was miraculously transported from his church in India to Mount Olivet, where he had a vision of Mary's body going up to Heaven. He prayed that she would "make thy servant joyful through thy compassion," and in response she threw down the belt that the Apostles had put on the body when they placed it in the sarcophagus.

In the painting, the landscape with a long road disappearing into the distance and the clouds on which Mary stands emphasize that this is Thomas's vision while he was at a distance from the Apostles.

In the lower right quadrant we see Mary's sarcophagus and a crude stone structure. The flowers in the sarcophagus refer to passages in the liturgy for the feast of the Assumption. The stone structure refers to Thomas's offer to build a "temple" for the King of India.

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Read more about St. Thomas and about The Assumption.

Both images photographed at the cathedral by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.