"The Richard Stodart Mary Magdalene is not only very beautiful it is theologically way ahead of its time. Its mix of simplicity and sophistication, Mary's steady gaze and the use of symbol give it the quality of an icon: It speaks to people; messages of hope and peace."
— The Reverend Catherine Relf-Pennington Rector,
St Mary Magdalene's
26 Moore St Adelaide 5000
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Often conflated with the penitent Mary in the Bible, Mary Magdalene was a wealthy woman from the city of Magdala, Galilee, who was healed by Jeaus of an illness and possession by seven demons. She subsequently dedicated herself to serving Jesus, followed Him everywhere, listened to His divine teaching, and served His ministry with her estate. She accompanied Jesus to Golgotha, succoured Him during His suffering on the cross, and was present when His body was taken down from the cross and laid to rest in the sepulcher at Gethsemane. After HIs Resurrection, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene in the sepulcher and requested her to tell the disciples about His Resurrection. Complying with His request, she said to them, “Christ is risen!”
My painting of Mary Magdalene is based on a story in which Mary Magdalene is said to have travelled to Rome after the Resurrection to spead the news. According to the story, while in Rome, Mary Magdalene testified to Tiberius Caesar about the Resurrection. Doubting her testimony, Tiberius Caesar said to her: "There is as much chance of Jesus rising from the dead as an egg in the basket you are carrying turning red." Whereupon, Mary Magdalene held up an egg and it turned red.
In the painting, the egg is white, to underscore Mary Magdalen's faith in Christ that it will turn red. She wears a dark green tunic, calling to mind the earth as a verdant provider. At her heart, three red vertical marks signify the earth, sky, and spirit. Her steady gaze expresses compassion. The center of her corona, between her eyes, is the gateway to the sky (heaven, the Father)—represented by the blue vertical column that centers her as self and world.
M a r y M a g d a l e n e
Edition size: 800
Image size: 14" x 17"
Paper size:16" x 20"
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The Abbey in Glastonbury, Celebration of Mary Magdalene Feast. Richard Stodart's altar is center.
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