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Open Access 9 Mary Magdalene’s Conversion in Renaissance Painting and Mediaeval Sacred Drama

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9 Mary Magdalene’s Conversion in Renaissance Painting and Mediaeval Sacred Drama

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Chapter Summary

Mary Magdalene's conversion to Christianity must have been a turning-point of paramount importance in her life. This chapter explores the relationship between text and image, in relation to the portrayal of Mary Magdalene in the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance in the Western World, and more specifically with regards to portrayals of her conversion. It briefly introduces the complex legendary persona of the Magdalene as it emerges from biblical texts, as well as later legends. The reception of specific aspects of the Magdalene's legend in both high and low culture becomes clear through the presentation of her conversion in both popular theatre and more elitist manifestations in the visual arts. It is a well-known fact that in the Western tradition, Mary Magdalene as a 'literary' character is the result of a fusion of several biblical and legendary figures.

Keywords: Christianity; Late Middle Ages; Mary Magdalene's conversion; Renaissance



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