Florence is a paradise for art enthusiasts! At every turn, they come across unspeakable treasures and rarities from earlier centuries, the density of which seems to be an Italian idiosyncrasy. Many of the churches are decorated with the works of old masters, which usually are only to be found in museums.
During my preparations for our ‘Spiritual Journey through Tuscany’ next autumn, I also visited the church Santa Maria Novella, which is noted in many guidebooks. The atmosphere of the church, however, is rather suggestive of an art gallery and I was unable to sense any special energies. Nevertheless, there was one piece that impressed me considerably, namely the scene of the entombment, which can be found in an inconspicuous alcove inside the church. Immediately, the following question forced itself upon me: which one of the women is MARY MAGDALENE?
The Magdalene is usually represented in the colours red and green and another remarkable feature is her long, red, flowing hair. The person at the far right in the mural painting doubtlessly represents Jesus’ ‘favourite disciple’, whose clothes are red and green as well. Could this be an allusion to Mary Magdalene, who actually is Jesus’ ‘first disciple’ and follower?
The woman to the left of Mother Mary wears the colours red and green too. Could this be Mary Magdalene or Mary Jacobe or Mary Salome? If so, who is the lady in red with the headgear? Doesn’t she look like a queen? Martha, Mary Magdalene’s sister, is frequently represented in red, but still I do not believe that Martha is portrayed here.
Mary Magdalene, who is considered to be Jesus’ wife in old writings and whose rank thus is tantamount to a queen’s, would soonest live up to this role. …
The truth – once again – is in the eye of the beholder.