Paintings of the Assumption into heaven of Our Lady can be very beautiful. Mary taken into glory often surrounded by angels. At the same time they can feel rather remote, and somewhat removed from Mary’s simple humanity.
In this striking painting, by the French Symbolist artist Maurice Denis (1870-1943), the artist shows his daughter, ‘Nono’, crowning, with flowers, her mother, the artist’s first wife, Marthe.
Denis was a committed Catholic christian. In the painting, as in much of this artist’s work, the boundary between the sacred and the everyday dissolves.
This is a family scene. As we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption this lovely painting encourages us to contemplate Mary, the mother of Jesus. Nono, the little girl represents us, who in our generation, call Mary blessed. (Luke 1.47).
We call Mary blessed, and in the Assumption (August 15th) we celebrate her entry into glorious divine dimensions, we crown her Queen.
Look! In the painting Nono and Marthe are painted in the same colours. We share the same humanity as the everyday peasant girl of Palestine, Mary. The Assumption, the ‘chiefest joy of Mary’ is an Easter feast. It has been described as ‘a poetic meditation on the resurrection.’ The human Mary is received into heaven. On this feast of her Assumption we dare to hope, in faith, that like her we too will share in the glory of her son’s resurrection.