tabernacle
1359 Marble, lapis lazuli, gold and glass inlay Orsanmichele, Florence

The idea of Mary as the Tabernacle of our Lord is vividly brought to mind as we also contemplate her Dormition and Assumption while studying the details of this actual tabernacle.

On the back of the tabernacle, built to house Bernardo Daddi’s repainting of a lost image of the Virgin and Child, is the large relief “Dormition and Assumption of the Virgin. The two scenes, treated as one, are separated by the horizontal band of the tomb. This rocky ledge also marks a dichotomy in contemporary attitudes towards the earthly and the spiritual. The Death and Funeral of the Virgin take place on the earth and are physical, but three-dimensional space is suggested only by the histrionic figures who crowd round the Virgin laid out on her sarcophagus. In the middle stands Christ holding a child symbolic of the Virgin’s soul, flanked by two angels. Above in the flat otherworldly real, the Virgin levitates within a “mandorla” (almond) indicating spirituality and bestows her girdle on the kneeling St Thomas. ~ Web Gallery of Art