The Ascension

1175-1200
Mosaic
Cupola of St. Mark's, Venice

Mary and the twelve Apostles form a band encircling the image of Christ ascending into the starry heavens. Mary is distinguished from the others in the band by her position relative to Christ's and by the angels with scepters flanking her. The latter are in the tradition of early icons that pictured her flanked by the archangels Michael and Gabriel bearing military standards. (See our page on the archangel Gabriel.)

The inscription circling the central image is dicite quid statis quid in æthere consideratis · filius iste dei iesus cives galilei sumptus ut a vobis abiit et sic arbiter orbis judicii cura veniet dare debita jura. This is a loose adaptation of Acts 1:10. Ruskin translated it as "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye at gaze? This Son of God, Jesus, so taken from you, departs that He may be the arbiter of the earth: in charge of judgment He comes, and to give the laws that ought to be" (Works, XXIV, 292).

Read more about images of the Ascension.
Read more about portraits of Mary with the Apostles and of the apostles as a group.
Also see our page on the archangel Gabriel.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.