Death of the Virgin  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Death of the Virgin Mary is a common theme in Western Christian art, comparable to the Dormition in Eastern Orthodox art. It becomes less common as the doctrine of the Assumption gains support in the Roman Catholic Church from the late Middle Ages onwards. Although that doctrine avoids stating whether Mary was alive or dead when she was bodily taken up to Heaven, she is normally shown in art as alive. A tradition says the twelve Apostles were miraculously assembled from their far-flung missionary activity to be present at the death, and that is the scene normally depicted, with the apostles gathered round the bed. A virtuoso engraving by Martin Schongauer influences most later depictions. Earlier depictions usually follow the standard Byzantine image, with the Virgin lying on a simple bed across the front of the picture space.

A prominent, and late, example of the subject is Death of the Virgin by Caravaggio (1606), the last major Catholic depiction.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Death of the Virgin" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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