The wise, knowing half smile on the enigmatic woman's face and the silvery sheen of her cloak have made many viewers assume that this is the work of a very modern painter. Surprise! This image of Mary Magdalene ̶ one which embodies such an air of mystery ̶ was painted in the year 1540 by Giovanni Solvoldo.
"Mary Magdalene" by Giovanni Solvoldo
The National Gallery, London
While he depicts Mary coming to the tomb of Jesus (you can see the anointing jar to the far left), the focus here is not on outward action, but inner insight in the moment before she sees the world in a transfigured way. This is the perfect image to accompany the timeless sense of Mary Magdalene which has been reclaimed in our era: a woman of profound wisdom whose spiritual teachings focus on inner contemplation and awareness, an image that finds echoes in Mark Adamo's upcoming opera The Gospel of Mary Magdalene
Tonight at 7 pm PST, there will be a FREE webinar that will explore many of the faces and legends of Mary Magdalene through the myths over the centuries: from faithful disciple to penitent prostitute, embodiment of Wisdom and possible bride of Christ to her modern image as a contemporary guide to fulfillment, wholeness and inspiration.
To join this FREE introduction with cultural historian and resident mythologist Kayleen Asbo, register at