LUCA SIGNORELLI: The Crowning of the Elect, 1499 – 1502, Fresco, Chapel of San Brizio, Duomo, Orvieto

 ‘For now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for His appearing.’ – 2 Timothy 4:8

The next painting in this series is titled ‘The Crowning of the Elect’. To the terrified observer of the Chapel of San Brizio, this fresco instantly ushers in a sigh of relief. No longer does fire flood down from heaven nor meteors pelt the earth. The deadly demons have departed with the damned and the horrors of the ‘final hour’ have now fallen still.

We are welcomed to a scene of celestial bliss. Unlike the previous frescos, the star studded golden glow flows-forth from the heavens to touch the horizons of the earth. The nine choirs of angels surround this glorious arch. They are seen seated over billows of little clouds making a joyful noise unto the Lord. They sing out in chorus: ‘This is the day of celebration. This is the day to rejoice. The Lord our God is our deliverer. Let’s praise His Name.’

Notice the marvellous medieval instruments they orchestrate. This includes – the organistrum (?), timbrels, lutes, the Latin guitar, the Guitarra Morisca (?), the medieval vielle and the violins. Dressed in flowing robes and noble wings, they sing praises to our Lord and King. At the centre we encounter two angels spraying white petals over the elect.

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