Mary Magdalene by Frederick Sandys, painted 1862
Mary Magdalene by Frederick Sandys
Painted in 1862

Assignment Art:  Look at the dozens of paintings and icons ofMM available online ( and do some searches).

1.  Write up your impressions, conclusions, realizations,puzzlements.  

2.  Sort the works of art into categories.  

3.  Design a lesson or meditation or slideshow using the worksof art.  

4.  How have artists portrayed her over the centuries? The earliestpieces are quite primitive.  When did the prostitution come into thepicture, what colors are used, talk about the red X’s, the hand gesturesshe is shown making, the half-nakedness some artists paint her with (suchas Peter Paul Rubens), etc. etc.

5.  Tell what forms of portrayal you like and which ones youdislike.  Some don’t like the way she looks in icons, some don’t liketo see her halfnaked and exposed, others don’t like to see her anointingYeshua’s feet and weeping like a sinner (she probably anointed his head,only Luke’s gospel makes it his feet).

6.  Pick one painting and rant or rave about it.

7.  Imagine yourself an artist and describe to a tee using words(not easy, I know, but try!) exactly how your painting and portrayal of herwould be.  Would Yeshua be in the picture or not?  Other characters? What is the “mood” you would want your painting to convey?  Howabout colors? Which ones and what kinds of colors (soft, bold, muted,subtle, loud, crisp, bright) would you use?  What symbols would youput in and why? Would you hide anything for deeper study to reveal, suchas the M hidden by Leonardo DaVinci in his Last Supper?  Would yourstyle be contemporary, iconic, classical, abstract, what?

8.  This is the Holy Grail degree.  Find at least a dozenimages of the chalice form of the Holy Grail and discuss what thoughts orconclusions come to mind.

9.  Find at least a dozen images of Mary Magdalene’s AlabasterJar/Box and discuss what thoughts or conclusions come to mind. Note, theyare not connected to the holy grail. The jar has still come to symbolizemany things and connects to Pandora’s jar (it wasn’t a box, the word wasmistranslated), the cornucopia of abundance, and to Isis funeral’s gallery has isolated the jars into one section.  Viewthem here.

LaTour Project:  Look at the MM paintings by Georges LaTour’sgallery or find them online since hasn’t gotten their imagesall up again since their 2005 website overhaul. Go and type in “magdalene georgeslatour” and you should get something. Write a report about these severalMagdalene paintings by Georges LaTour.  Ideas:  describe how theyseem to evolve in a sequence (is there an advancing pregnancy?), how thesame symbols are used in different ways, how the author’s name is intriguing,how one of them showed up in Disney’s Little Mermaid cartoon movie of the1990’s and the significance of that (what might it symbolize, what are theparallels between those characters and MM).

3rd Deg OMM Study Hall |2nd Deg OMM Study Hall