The panel was painted for the Cerasi Chapel in the Roman church of Santa Maria del Popolo in 1601. The decoration of the chapel was commissioned from Annibale and Caravaggio, who painted the Martyrdom of Saint Peter and the Conversion of Saint Paul. A work from Carracci's most classical period, the Assumption is characterized by the monumentality of the life-size figures, which occupy the whole of the composition. The light picks out the imposing masses of the bodies and the drapery, while the warm colors reveal the influence of Venetian painting, always very strong in Annibale's style. But a decisive part is also played here by his study of the great art of the Roman Renaissance, as is apparent from the Michelangelo style pose of the angel supporting the Virgin Mary. The sweeping and eloquent gestures respond to the need for rhetorical emphasis and exaltation of the emotions typical of Counter-Reformation art, which was to find its most suitable pictorial language in the work of Annibale and his followers.
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