Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Ascension

Title: The Ascension
Artist: John Singleton Copley
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 81 x 73 cm
Date: 1775
Location: The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Luke 24:50-56 - When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

As we come to the end of Luke’s Gospel, it is important to recall that Luke is only half finished with his story. The sequel comes in Acts. The resurrection-ascension is the link between the two volumes. That Luke regards the ascension as crucial is clear from Peter's speech in Acts 2. Now that Jesus is raised and seated at God's right hand, the mediating Ruler at the Father's side can pour out the blessing of God's Spirit.

John Singleton Copley (1738 – 1815) was an American painter, a son of Irish immigrants. He is famous for his portrait paintings of important figures in colonial New England, depicting in particular middle-class subjects. Though he had a long and successful career, the Napoleonic Wars brought hard times, and maintaining his household and the education of a talented son were costly. By the time of his death, despite his fame and talent, he left his family to settle his debts.

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