Author: Diane Apostolos-Cappadona
Extent: 176 pp
Publication: February 2023
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
A Visual History
From faithful apostle and seductress to feminist icon, Mary Magdalene’s many complex roles in Christian history have fascinated us for 2000 years. Illustrated in full colour, this visual history reveals how images and presentations have created a Mary who is often far different from the real woman, the first witness of the Resurrection in the gospels, or even from her appearances in the works of the Church Fathers.
Beginning with the earliest sources, uncover who the real Mary was, and what she meant in her own time, before embarking on a fast-paced tour of Magdalene’s depictions in great works of art, forgotten masterpieces and contemporary visual culture. Considering relics, statuary, paintings, sculpture and recent works for stage and screen, discover how Mary Magdalene has been seen across time as a witness, a sinner, a penitent, a contemplative, a preacher and a patroness.
Above all her complex roles, Mary has emerged as a powerful feminist icon, the closest person to Jesus himself, with a visual history as rich and varied as the roles she has fulfilled in numerous contexts of faith and worship for two millennia.
This is a wonderful book, written by a real expert in the field. It represents a lifetime of studying images of the Magdalene, and manifests deep reflection not only about cultural history but also the changing dimensions of spirituality and devotion. We are presented with a ‘Magdalene mosaic’ that allows readers to gain a rich appreciation of both the iconography of the Magdalene but also her shifting significance. Joan E. Taylor , King’s College London, UK