Taddeo di Bartolo
The Resurrection of the Virgin

Circa 1410
Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome

In response to the unusual imagery the museum has titled the painting "The Resurrection" of Mary, not her "Dormition" or "Assumption." In Dormitions the apostles gather disconsolately around Mary's bed as Christ carries her soul, pictured as a small child, to Heaven. Often there are only eleven apostles, as here, because in some legends St. Thomas was absent. But here a wakeful Mary is in a sarcophagus, not a bed, and Christ is lifting her up bodily, as angels do in Assumptions. The faint outline of a cross in his halo assures one that he is indeed Christ, not an angel as the fiery wings might suggest.

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Read more about The Dormition and The Assumption.

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