I love the whimsy of this particular painting, Mary Magdalene imagined as a Renaissance lady at her writing desk, her signature jar of myrrh close by. Every time I look at her I smile -- and so she serves as the image for 2008, bringing whimsy and a smile into my writing life.
There are many stories concerning the relationship between Christ and Mary Magdalene. One holds that she went to the tomb at sunrise on the day of the resurrection. As she neared the entrance, she discovered that the guards were gone and the tomb open. An angel was sitting at the entrance and greeted her. Accounts of what happened next vary, but the Gospels of John and Mark agree that Jesus, in resurrected form, first appeared to her alone. During this encounter he asked her to spread the news of his return.
The selection of a woman, as the messenger of the resurrection, confers special status on Mary Magdalene and her standing within the early Christian community. This is a fairly unique phenomenon in Christian writings.
Mary Magdalene at her writing desk. Master of the female half-length. 16th Century. Private collection.