Church of San Niccolò al Carmine

Ascension of Jesus Christ

Girolamo del Pacchia (Siena 1477 - post 1533)


The altarpiece, placed above the second altar to the left of the main entrance, was made for the homonymous altar and represents the Ascension of Christ, which took place on the Mount of Olives forty days after the Resurrection, as reported by Matthew, Luke and the Acts of the Apostles (1.9):


“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight”

The bottom part of the painting shows the Virgin Mary among the apostles; almost all the characters have their head and eyes fixed on the Resurrected Christ, which occupies the upper half of the painting.
Jesus, in a mandorla surrounded by cherubs, ascends to Heaven which he himself is indicating with one of his hands. Musical angels harmoniously accompany the Ascension, with which the Son of God concluded his Earthly life to join the Father, represented above, in the centre, with a globe in his hand.
The almond that surrounds Christ is generated from the intersection of two circles and symbolises the communication between two worlds, the human and the divine, the earthly and the celestial, of which the Word portrayed within is but a mediator.