Tiziano Vecellio: The assumption of the Virgin (1516-18)

(Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice, Italy)

A large altarpiece made by the Italian master Tiziano Vecellio, aka Titian (1488-1576). The painting was commissioned for the high altar in the Franciscan Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice. Shown is the assumption of Mary into Heaven. According to the Catholic Church Mary, mother of Christ, did not meet a physical death but rather "having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory". Titian shows scene in three layers:

Bottom Layer: the apostels (= humanity) who are witnessing the assumption are stunned and amazed of what is happening. Saint Peter is kneeling his his hands on his breast, saint Thomas is pointing to Mary while saint Andrew stretches his hands toward Mary, distraught at losing the mother of Christ.
Middle Layer: Mary, surrounded by a host of angels who carry her to Heaven
Top Layer: Heaven with God the father who calls Mary

Painting from 1516-1518.