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.
Mary Magdalene has long deserved the extended gaze of a good art critic. Diane Apostolos-Cappadona ... takes us, very ably and learnedly, through the 2,000-year history of her visual representations. -- Michael Glover * The Tablet * Diane Apostolos-Cappadona's concise art historical account of the Magdalene charts her transformations and offers a guide to the motifs associated with her various manifestations ... Apostolos-Cappadona leads our eye to her, illuminating Mary Magdalene as a more distinct figure. -- Hettie Judah * Art Quarterly * Apostolos-Cappadona's engaging and intelligent appraisal of artistic interpretation reminds the reader that the Magdalene is a subject that matters still. -- Siobhan Jolley * The Art Newspaper * This is a lavishly illustrated, informative survey of how 2,000 years of Christian history has curated the memory of Mary Magdalene ... There is much here that will inform. -- John Woods * Inspire * ... a visual feast of one hundred and thirty eight images of Mary Magdalene from the very earliest of 240 AD to the present. The author notes the transformations in Mary Magdalene's imagery in response to changes in 'cultural and theological perceptions' over the centuries and adds a comprehensive scholarly discussion of written records. The result is this fascinating book. -- Mary Sokol * New Directions * Diane Apostolos-Cappadona excellently demonstrates the essential nature of the visual in understanding the multiplicity of Mary Magdalene. Where do all her contrasting images come from? This wonderfully accessible and beautifully illustrated book takes you on a thoroughly-researched journey to find out. * Lieke Wijnia, University College Utrecht, the Netherlands * 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 * This beautiful book is the achievement of a scholar who not only comprehends her subject thoroughly, but is passionate about it. Every chapter is a rich and meticulously crafted compilation of texts, artworks, traditions, and lived practices. When brought together, they capture the complex character of Mary Magdalene whose multifaceted and often contradictory representations are simultaneously true and false, but, most of all, incomplete without the others. A brilliant achievement! * Robin Jensen, University of Notre Dame, USA * Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. * Choice *