I will post an article next week about Christian environmentalism. I believe that this scene, portrayed in this beautiful example of 17th baroque painting, in which Mary Magdalene sees Christ in the garden and mistaking him for the gardener gives us insights into the Christian understanding of man’s relationship with the rest of creation, and so to a Christian environmentalism. You can read how when it comes out on Monday.
Here is the account from St John’s gospel, Chapter 20: 11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
In this painting, painted around 1645 by the Italian Pietro da Cortona, he uses the classic elements of the baroque style, the deep shadow contrasted with the light, which represents, in this case literally, the Light, that overcomes the darkness. He ensures that the main focus is on the person of Christ by retaining the sharpest focus and the most colour around him and his garments. Much of the parts in the periphery of the painting are painted in monochrome (in one colour, in this case sepia) and are blurred. This draws the eye to the most important part of the painting that is lighter, more coloured, and in sharper focus.. The only other part which is in light is the upper body and face of Mary Magdalene. The deep (Read More)