Filippo Lippi
The Assumption and Annunciation with Aquinas Presenting Cardinal Carafa to Our Lady

Chapel of the Annunciation
Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome

The Assumption itself is in the upper half of the fresco. As was becoming typical in the 15th century, angels take Mary aloft on a cloud. Not typical is Lippi's substitution of a blue globe for the traditional mandorla backdrop .

In the bottom half, eleven Apostles gaze up in wonder on either side of the Annunciation scene. One legendary tradition had it that St. Thomas was absent for the Assumption and when later told of it expressed doubts the Mary sought to assuage.

The Cardinal Carafa of the title is the man in the red cape kneeling before Mary. Aquinas stands behind him in his Dominican habit. As in many medieval versions, Mary is at a bookstand on which a book lies open, but instead of a prie-dieu there is a chair between her and the book, a puzzling arrangement.

View these detail photographs:

Read more about the Annunciation and the Assumption.

Photographed at the basilica by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.