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RAW Preview > Painted as a Harlot: Mary Magdalene, Much Maligned

March 17, 2012

M. L. Hosty will be presenting her paper entitled “Painted as a Harlot: Mary Magdalene, Much Maligned” during the Messaging and Iconography panel at 2:30 p.m. See the complete RAW schedule here.

Being possessed of graduate backgrounds in both literature and art history, being naturally inclined towards the study of religious and spiritual matters, and being drawn to women’s studies as a result of being a member of the female demographic, my intended PowerPoint presentation focuses on the representation of the Magdalene throughout the centuries, as gleaned from multiple, historical texts and artistic representations which have been informed by said texts.

The presentation begins with the examination of a contemporary female artist, and traces the genealogy of the representation as shaped by religious tradition, and a wholly erroneous one, at that. The presentation draws on the edicts of a Medieval pontiff (“Gregory the Great”), Rosicrucian and Knights Templar traditions, and actual scripture (including egregious mistranslation having contributed to the artistic themes), and posits (arguably feminist) reasons for the intentional and accidental misrepresentations of Mary called Magdalene.

The presentation includes artistic representations based on lesser-known traditional stories, including tales of the Magdalene witnessing for her faith post-crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, and provides examples from current films which only serve to perpetuate the myths invented about and associated with this woman. The presentation will include a multitude of full-color artworks which demonstrate the illustration of the fabrications and falsehoods which have been used to signify the Magdalene throughout the centuries of the largely Christianized Western Civilization.

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