- Benjamin West, American, 1738-1820
- Work Locations: Italy; England
The Ascension, 1801
Oil paint on canvas
Signed and dated at lower left, B. West 18[..], traces of an illegible second signature just above
Gift of the Berger Collection Educational Trust, 2018.15
In 1779, established in London as one of the leading artists of the day, Benjamin West was commissioned by George III to decorate the walls of the Royal Chapel at Windsor Castle with scenes from the Old and New Testament, a project that would engage him for the next twenty years. He first painted The Ascension – in which Jesus ascends into heaven following his crucifixion and burial – in about 1781–82. The picture was never installed in the chapel, and West returned to the subject two decades later, producing the Berger picture. As was his practice, he created it as a finished study of the eventual painting. Soon after West completed it, King George appointed a new architect for the Royal Chapel project and the commission was cancelled.
- “Treasures from the Berger Collection: British Paintings 1400-2000” — Denver Art Museum, 10/2/2014 – 9/9/2018