More about The Ascension


It's ironic that this is a picture of Jesus, as it was painted by All American Judas. 

Benjamin West was one of the first Americans to emigrate out of the United States. In his early twenties, West went to Italy to study the great masters who he desired to emulate. Now there is nothing inherently wrong with that, the problem was that instead of coming home and using his skills for his homeland, like for example Gilbert Stuart, he went to work for King George III. Remember that King George was the British ruler from whom the United States won their freedom in 1776. This would be like if Kanye West flew over to the middle east and started singing for Al Qaeda. However, Benjamin West went even farther than that. Not only did he work on a slew of paintings for King George, but he also became the President of the Royal Art Academy, and helped the British Empire established itself artistically across the world. 

It would seem, though, that this treachery would not satiate the man. In 1802, during a brief one year peace between the British and French, West leveraged his political connections in order to go to Paris and see the Napoleon's artistic collections in the Louvre. So while England was struggling through some brutal diplomacy with their life-long enemy, West was acting as a party guest to the French heads of state. Regardless of this chronic treason, West was treasured by all the 3 countries he stayed in. He inspired other American painters, as well as educating some that would go on to be rather famous like Washington Allston and Thomas Sully. All the while he retained his reputation with his European masters, this being evident in the fact that he was commissioned to paint Benjamin Franklin pulling lightning from the sky, while simultaneously creating works like the one above over the course of his twenty year long employment under King George.


Comments (2)

Allie Norder

I really connected to this piece of art, The Ascension by Mr. West. With the usage of light and dark colors, we can see the difference between what I can assume to be earth and then the lighter colors are that of a heavenly plane. This painting also can explain the human condition because we as brothers and sisters in Christ are looking to get into heaven. Whereas there are people that are already accepted by God. But we can also see that there are angles that are welcoming Jesus to heaven. Overall, I really like the overall style of the painting and the composition.

J-C Micklich

I really like artwork, The Ascension, by Benjamin West. The use of light and dark colors to contrast the divinity of Christ and Heaven with the humans still on earth and in darkness. Along with the contrasting in light and dark, we see the gestures of the humans and angels in the painting. The angels long awaited the return of Christ from earth into heaven, therefore they are waiting with open arms. The humans on earth are looking upwards towards the ascending Jesus with open arms, seemingly longing for Him to stay with them. Along with these gestures, it seems to me that there is some rays of hope as the light that is emanating from Jesus shines down on some of the humans below, while some are still shadowed in darkness.