Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Ascension of Christ

Garofalo (Benvenuto Tisi), (b. 1476, Ferrara, d. 1559, Ferrara)
Ascension of Christ
Oil on panel, 314 x 204,5
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome

He was called Garofalo after his family’s hometown, which was part of the D’Este Duchy at the time, and was probably born in Ferrara, He was one of the leading artists in the 16th-century figurative art of Ferrara.

Garofalo is noted for the brilliant, jewel-like colours which are the product of the artist`s careful preparation and skilful technique.

He often used shell or powdered gold to decorate details. Note also his Ferrarese training in the almost miniaturist detail of the folds of the clothes.

The horizontal format, architectural setting and airy landscape are typical of his work. The brilliant yellow and green of the sunlit foliage stand out against the snow-capped mountains, which dissolve into the blue of the sky.

Garofalo visited Rome in 1512, where he came into contact with Raphael and studied the antique.

At a General Audience on April 12, 1989, Pope John Paul II said:

"“According to Luke, Jesus "was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9). In this text two essential points are to be noted: "he was lifted up" (elevation-exaltation) and "a cloud took him" (entrance into the chiaroscuro of mystery).

He was lifted up": this expression corresponds to the sensible and spiritual experience of the apostles. It refers to an upward movement, to a passage from earth to heaven, especially as a sign of another "passage": Christ passes to the glorified state in God.

The first meaning of the ascension is precisely this: a revelation that the risen one has entered the heavenly intimacy of God. That is proved by "the cloud," a biblical sign of the divine presence. Christ disappears from the eyes of his disciples by entering the transcendent sphere of the invisible God.

This last consideration is a further confirmation of the meaning of the mystery which is Jesus Christ's ascension into heaven. The Son who "came forth from the Father and came into the world, now leaves the world and goes to the Father" (cf. Jn 16:28).

This return to the Father, the elevation "to the right hand of the Father," concretely realizes a messianic truth foretold in the Old Testament.

When the evangelist Mark tells us that "the Lord Jesus...was taken up into heaven" (Mk 16:19), his words echo the "prophecy of the Lord" recorded in Psalm 110:1: "The Lord said to my lord, 'Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.'" "To sit at the right hand of God" means to share in his kingly power and divine dignity.”

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