Exactly 500 years ago, on May 19th, 1518, Titian’s stunning painting of The Assumption was set up on the high altar of the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. Titian had started work on the monumental altarpiece, which measures 6.6 by 3.4 metres, two years earlier, in 1516.
The altarpiece depicts the Virgin Mary being assumed into heaven. God the Father towers overhead, flanked by two angels. One of the angels holds a green crown, the symbol of earthly death, while the other bears the golden crown of heaven.
In 1797, following the conquest of Venice by the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte, the painting was taken to Paris, where it spent the next two decades in the Louvre/Museo Napoleone. In 1817 it returned to Venice, where it was taken to the Academy of Fine Arts to be restored. It remained in the Galleria Accademia until 1919 when it was finally returned to Santa Gloriosa dei Frari.
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England.
Since 200I I have been living in Italy, where I run private tours of Florence, Rome &
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