Thursday, April 7, 2011

Saint Mary Magdalene

Title: Saint Mary Magdalene
Artist: Guido Reni
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 79.3 x 68.5 cm
Date: c. 1634
Location: National Gallery, London.

John 20:18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Mary Magdalene or Mary of Magdala (original Greek Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνή, 1st century AD) was one of Jesus' most celebrated disciples. Mary Magdalene is the only person named by any of the canonical gospels as a witness to all three: Jesus' crucifixion, his burial, and the discovery of his empty tomb. Mary Magdalene is mentioned, along with various other women, as a witness to the crucifixion in Mark 15:40, Matthew 27:56 and John 19:25; in listing witnesses who saw where Jesus was buried by Joseph of Aramathea, Mark 15:47 and Matthew 27:61; and in Mark, Matthew, and John, Mary Magdalene is first witness to the Resurrection. New Testament scholar Frank Stagg points out that Mary's role as a witness is unusual because women at that time were not considered credible witnesses in legal proceedings. Because of this, and because of extra-biblical traditions about her subsequent missionary activity in spreading the Gospel, she is known by the title, "Equal of the Apostles".

Guido Reni (November 1575 – August 1642) was an Italian painter of high-Baroque style. As a child of nine, he was apprenticed under the Bolognese studio of Denis Calvaert. When Reni was about twenty years old, three Calvaert pupils migrated to the rising rival studio, named Accademia degli Incamminati (Academy of the "newly embarked", or progressives), led by Lodovico Carracci. They went on to form the nucleus of a prolific and successful school of Bolognese painters who followed Annibale Carracci to Rome. Many of his best known works were painted there, including the ceiling fresco, 'Aurora' (Casino Rospigliosi), carried out before 1614 for Cardinale Scipione Borghese. By 1613 Reni had returned to Bologna, and was largely active there until his death.

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