Murillo remains one of the most influential painters in Europe. He in turn took inspiration from Velasquez and Zurbarán. The painting we will be discussing today is his depiction of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. This episode is not explicitly in the Bible. Mary was assumed into heavenly glory, body and soul, and this assumption was dogmatically defined by Pius XII in 1950 in Munificentissimus Deus. So as official church dogma, Catholics are bound to believe it. We have covered a number of Assumption depictions in recent weeks and this one is very special indeed.

Murillo was the leading painter in Seville in the later 17th century. He remained one of the most admired and popular of all European artists in the 18th and early 19th centuries. His early works were much influenced by the early works of Velázquez, executed before Velázquez left Seville in 1623, and by the paintings of Zurbarán. National Gallery

Some depictions of the Assumption, like this one, show Mary as child like, on her way up to heaven. Indeed in my favourite depiction by Fra Angelico, Mary is shown in the bottom panel (her dormition) being held by Jesus, as a baby. Mary is shown on her way up to heaven, surrounded by a host of cherubs. These baby angels seem to be swirling around her and pulling her higher. The glow behind her head seems to emphasise her purity. Murillo also invites us to bask in her light and appreciate her purity. The fabric is rendered beautifully with clear movement. The dark purple of her robe further emphasises her divinity and royalty. She was from the house of David, after all.

Everything in this painting from the cherubs pushing Mary upwards to the billowing clouds about her and the glow her presence lends the scene is marvellous. I will think of this when praying the rosary on Wednesdays and Sundays when meditating upon this glorious mystery.