Correggio's painting is a swirling mass of figures. These are angels who guide the Virgin upwards. They sing and play musical instruments and below stand the apostles who gaze in bewilderment at the scene. In the centre of the composition Jesus descends to greet his mother.
The base of the dome is decorated with the four protector saints of the city of Parma, these are; St John the Baptist; St Hilary; St Thomas; and St Bernard.