Bookbinding depicting The Ascension



Ivory panel, an element of the binding of a book, depicting the Ascension. Christ ascends to heaven in the presence of six disciples, who show varying human reactions; the two outer figures left and right, each holding a scroll, are dazzled; the central figures alarmed (left) and unwilling to let Christ go (right). Compared with the late Antiquities Ascension, the tree still gives a sense of height; but Christ has lost touch with the ground, his sandals and scroll are gone, and the additional cloak in his right hand only prevents his grasping the Hand of God. His posture is a compromise between looking towards heaven and turning back to the onlookers below. The image is deeply sunk in a plain acanthus frame with narrow inner strip and slightly wider outer edge. The panel has been acquired by Gabor Fejérváry (1781-1851), born in the modern-day Slovak Republic, by 1844. In 1851 Fejérváry's collection was bequeathed to his nephew, Ferenc Pulszky, who sold the collection to Joseph Mayer in 1855.