The Ascension of Christ

Object Details


The Ascension of Christ


Pacino di Bonaguida (Italian (Florentine), active about 1303 - about 1347)




Florence, Italy (Place created)


about 1340


Tempera, gold leaf, and ink on parchment


Leaf: 44.4 x 31.8 cm (17 1/2 x 12 1/2 in.)

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This miniature depicts the Ascension, Christ's appearance on earth after the Resurrection when his apostles witness him being taken to heaven. Christ is shown as an object of veneration, like a cult statue, purposefully separated from the other figures in the narrative. All of the other participants direct their attention toward him--even the angels with instruments who appear along the sides. The two kneeling figures in the border below, who also gaze in adoration up at Christ, are members of the Compagnia di Sant'Agnese, a group of pious laypeople (both men and women) who met at the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence. The manuscript from which this leaf comes was a laudario, a hymnal used by the group in their public devotions. The hymn for the feast of the Ascension begins below the miniature.

The miniature's artist, Pacino di Bonaguida, was well known in Florence for his devotional paintings. Here he has focused attention on the figure of Jesus, who is isolated at the center of the image. Christ's robes of brilliant yellow and white, however, make him less substantial than the figures below and at the same time, more radiant, absorbed into the brightness of the gold surrounding him, as he ascends to heaven.

Related Works
Masterpieces in Miniature: Italian Manuscript Illumination from the J. Paul Getty Museum (September 25, 2005 to January 2, 2006)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), September 25, 2005 to January 2, 2006
The Cult of Saints (April 25 to July 16, 2006) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), April 25 to July 16, 2006
Music for the Masses: Illuminated Choir Books (August 14 to October 28, 2007) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 14 to October 28, 2007
Rare Finds: Ten Years of Collecting Manuscripts (February 12 to April 20, 2008) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 12 to April 20, 2008
Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350 (November 13, 2012 to June 16, 2013) (Cat. 45.12)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 13, 2012 to February 10, 2013
  • Art Gallery of Ontario, (Toronto), March 16 to June 16, 2013
Related Media
  • /
    Audio: Pentecost; The Ascension of Christ; The Martrdrom of Saint Lawrence
  • /
    Audio: Ascension of Christ (Exhibit: FLORENCE_AT_DAWN)