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Mary Magdalene: Art's Scarlet Woman

Artists love the story of Mary Magdalene. Waldemar Januszczak explores how the image of Mary Magdalene has evolved in art.

Waldemar Januszczak explores the impact of Mary Magdalene's myth on art and artists. All saints in art are inventions, but no saint in art has been invented quite as furiously as Mary Magdalene. For a thousand years, artists have been throwing themselves at the task of describing her and telling her story, from Caravaggio to Cezanne, Rubens to Rembrandt, Titian to van Gogh.

Her identity has evolved from being the close follower of Jesus who was the first witness to his resurrection, to one of a prostitute and sinner who escaped from persecution in the Holy Land by fleeing across the Mediterranean to end up living in a cave as a hermit in the south of France, enjoying ecstatic experiences with Christ.

59 minutes

Last on

Mon 16 Mar 2020 01:15

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:07

    George Frideric Handel

    Messiah, Hwv 56, Part II He Was Despised

  • 00:11

    Bipolar Sunshine


  • 00:57

    Carl Orff

    Carmina Burana: Uf Dem Anger- Chramer, Gip Die Varwe Mir


Role Contributor
Presenter Waldemar Januszczak
Composer Simon Russell
Director Waldemar Januszczak
Editor Kirsi Pyy
Executive Producer Peter Grimsdale
On-line editing Rob Grainger
Producer Lidia Ciszewska
Production Company ZCZ Films
Writer Waldemar Januszczak


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