The Ascension of the Lord

The Crucifixion and Ascension
The Crucifixion and Ascension

Sometimes a picture says what words cannot and makes connections we are in danger of forgetting.

Scholarly Note
This two-panel ivory relief carving (from the tenth century, Byzantine) depicts the Crucifixion and Ascension of Christ. In the Crucifixion, the sun and moon and Stephaton and Longinus are reversed from their usual positions. Longinus carries a sword rather than a spear. The style is related to the Nicephoros Group. The figures in the ascension stand upright, looking upwards towards Christ, who sits in a mandorla carried by two angels. The bottom border and parts of figures in the Crucifixion scene are broken off, as are the left border and upper left corner. There are several pinholes in the upper border and ground. ‘AVE MARIA’  has been scratched on the back and there is the impression of a seventeenth-century seal.

From the Walters Art Gallery and made available under Creative Commons Licence.



3 thoughts on “The Ascension of the Lord”

  1. Surprised to see the damage had quite an emotional effect on me. (apart from the effect of the subject)(or perhaps they cannot be separated?)

  2. Yes, but the damage is in keeping with the theme. For all eternity, the Body of the Risen Christ will bear the marks of the Crucifixion; and until all is made new, humankind will continue broken and incomplete.

  3. I find that a very beautiful and moving piece. There is such tenderness and joy in the way the two angels are carrying Christ and I love the visual delight of those almost naïve figures conveying such a great message.

    It makes you wonder how many eyes down the centuries have looked at it in wonder and adoration…and now we look at it too.

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