The Oddi Altarpiece

Oil and tempera on wood panel transferred to canvas.
Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome

In the upper register Christ crowns his mother in Heaven. The lower register follows the report of Juvenal as relayed in John Damascene's "Third Oration on the Dormition." After the Apostles had laid Mary's body in the sepulcher, "for three days a chorus of angels continued to sing above it." Then the Apostles "desired to venerate the body that had borne God; and they opened the little tomb. But no trace of her all-blessed body could be found; and taking the winding-sheets, which were filled with fragrance, they closed the tomb" (Toal, IV, 437). The flowers in the painting represent the fragrance, and the musical instruments above represent the chorus of angels.

The man in the center with the white mantle is St. Thomas. He holds the belt that he received from Mary in some of the legends.

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Read more about the Coronation of the Virgin and the Assumption.

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