Assumption of the Virgin (Carracci)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Two paintings by the Italian Baroque painter Annibale Carracci take as their subject the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

The Prado painting

The first canvas was completed in 1590 and is now the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

The Rome painting

The second is from 1600-1601 and is in the famous Cerasi Chapel of the church of Santa Maria del Popolo of Rome. Carracci competed with the major artists for this altarpiece, the prize commission for the chapel. It is however one of his less satisfactory arrangements. The Virgin awkwardly rises through a cramped crowd of apostles, levitated by half-a dozen cherubim.

The canvas was somewhat overshadowed by the two famous contemporary paintings by Caravaggio on the side walls of the chapel: the The Conversion of Saint Paul on the Road to Damascus and The Crucifixion of Saint Peter. While both painters were important in the development of Baroque art, the contrast is striking: Carracci's Virgin glows with light, but St. Paul is surrounded by menacing shadows and figures.

See also

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