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Frame by Frame

Ascending Virgin in transcendent work

By Sebastian Smee
Globe Staff / July 10, 2012
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This exquisite painting by Fra Angelico (1395/1400-1455) at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum shows the Assumption of the Virgin Mary – her ascent into heaven – immediately above a scene centered on her dead body. The painting, in tempera on panel, has also been called “The Dormition and Assumption of the Virgin.” It’s a title I prefer because of the connotations of the word dormition: a peaceful and painless death, a descent into sleep

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The Death and the Assumption of the Virgin

by Fra Angelico

At: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. 617-566-1401, www.gardnermuseum.org