Possessed of great delicacy, this little painting also compels attention through its complexity. In the lower scene, enclosed by a wall, the body of the Virgin lies on a bier draped with sumptuous gold textiles. She is surrounded by Christ’s disciples, who miraculously appeared as she lay dying. Four of them prepare to lift the body and carry it to the tomb. In the center of the composition, Christ too has appeared to accept the Virgin’s soul, represented by the infant he holds in his arms. The Assumption of the Virgin is seen above. Three days after her burial, she ascended into heaven. Fra Angelico depicts the Virgin rising upwards, surrounded by a chorus of music angels. At the top, Christ, garbed in intense blue robes, opens his arms to embrace his mother.
Source: Alan Chong, "The Death and Assumption of the Virgin," in Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 45