Mary Magdalene by Antonio Veneziano graces the cover of this month’s Magnificat Magazine, and once again I find myself as engaged with the wonderful artwork this publication routinely presents, as I am with all the wonderful prayers and readings within. It’s a beautiful Icon, but the glossy Magnificat cover really brings it out in full force, rather like this snapshot, but even better.
Here’s what Pierre-Marie Dumont says about the work:
Here we see “the sinner of love” represented not as a penitent overwhelmed with remorse, but radiant in the charm of her liberated and redeemed beauty. In her left hand she holds the Gospel . . . source of the profound joy that illuminates her face . . . Her free-flowing hair attests that, as a daughter of Even, she has renounced none of her feminine splendor. Nevertheless it ripples down her shoulders in six tresses, the number which signifies imperfection and the limits of human nature. These locks, well-disciplined, as if guided by superior standards of fashion, are arranged upon a dress that borrows its color from the rosa mystica. One seeks in vain for the expression of a more fervent desire and a more vibrant love, now reoriented because healed from the fatal poison of concupiscence.
Magnificat does a, well, magnificent job selecting art, but also in explaining it to some who — like me — never had the time or leisure to take a few art appreciation classes. Each month, toward the back of the book, they reprint a wonderful piece of art and a couple of pages explaining the work’s history, the artist’s intent, the use of color and so on, and it is always a true gift of a read. This month, they feature The Holy Kinship, (c1470), artist unknown from the Westphalian School, which I had never seen before. The rich colors delighted me, the accompanying essay enlightened me. Yeah, a gift.