The frescoes of the cupola of Parma Cathedral (of which I have given the history in pp. 29-34) are as a tour de force in grouping, foreshortening and chiaroscuro, the most remarkable ever painted. Our illustration is from the principal group at the summit, representing The Assumption of the Virgin. It loses much of its effect from being represented in the flat. In the curve of the dome the Virgin appears to float upwards into the highest heaven, and Christ from above descends to meet and welcome her. She is surrounded by a vast crowd of angels, and of the blessed, all flying upwards. Some sustain her mantle, some glorify her with the music of cymbals, harps, psalteries and trumpets, and all seem transported with joyalmost too much so, for the action of some of the figures would be too violent to be artistic were it not counteracted by the wonderful massing of soft lights and shades that make a harmony where there might be confusion.
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