Artwork of the Week: August 16, 2020
Bernardino Passeri (1540-1596) and Hieronymus Wierix (1553-1619), Assvmitvr Maria in Coelvm, Coronatvr a Sanctiss Trinitate, 1647, engraving, 9 1/16 x 5 5/8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Wilfried and Carine Decoo, 2011.
For many Christians (particularly Latin Catholic and Orthodox faiths), August 15 is a major feast day commemorating The Assumption of the Virgin Mary—the taking up of Mary into heaven at the end of her life. Though details surrounding this belief vary among sects, the belief that Mary was received into celestial glory underscores her holy status and a conviction that all the faithful can be received into the bosom of the Divine. Belief in Mary’s immortality is evident in Christian writings as far back as the third century CE and became official Catholic doctrine in 1950. Thus, this weekend is an important time of worship for many denominations—a day to attend mass and recall Christ’s mercy and the exemplary Virgin Mary, who continues her divine work of succor in heaven.
This image from a Jesuit-inspired Bible text shows the apostles gazing up into heaven, as the Virgin is taken up by the Resurrected Christ and crowned with divine glory and honors.