Ascension Day

The Ascension of Christ (one of seven) possibly by Jean III Pénicaud (French, died 1570) — painted enamel on copper – partly gilt, 2 3/4 x 2 1/4 inches, mid-16th century. Image by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

May 26, 2022 Lectionary Texts — Year C
Acts 1:1-11
Psalm 47 or Psalm 93
Ephesians 1:15-23
Luke 24:44-53

View Lectionary

The piece I have chosen for this special day is a bit of a special piece in itself. This is an enamel work, a very unique art form that arose in France during medieval times. Using materials similar to those used in stained glass, the artisan applies and heats it to create lovely detailed works. Enamelware became quite popular during the Renaissance for the design and decoration of many church related items such as reliquaries, small boxes and chests, ornamental book covers, candlesticks, and small devotional images. Several generations of the Pénicaud family ran a prolific studio in the city of Limoges, France.

The Ascension of Christ is part of a series of seven miniature images from the life of Christ based on the woodcuts of Albrecht Altdorfer and Albrecht Dürer. Each enameled piece is under three inches in size. As in Altdorfer’s Ascension, we see only Christ’s feet and the hem of his robe as he floats away from the disciples and his mother Mary who had been gathered around him. It is a most unusual depiction of the Ascension. It is not focused on Christ rising in full glory to the throne that awaits him. The composition of this scene leaves us to make sense of what is happening along with Christ’s followers.

God has placed all things beneath His feet and anointed Him as the head over all things for His church. This church is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all. — Ephesians 1:22-23

Practicing Visio Divina:

  1. View the artwork
    What do you see?

    Note shapes – color – style – movement
    What stands out for you?
    What are you curious about?
    What questions do you have?
    Hold back any feelings – judgments – opinions
  2. Read the accompanying scripture and look over the artwork again
    What connections do you make?

    Between the image and text?
    What is coming to mind from your own experience?
    What feelings are rising in you?
    Are you uncomfortable with something?
    There are no right or wrong answers
  3. Read the scripture again and explore the artwork a third time
    What do you hear?

    What is God saying to you?
    What do you wish to speak to God?
    What blessing or prayer is rising in you?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s