Tuesday, October 28, 2008
[mary magdalen] judge for yourself
Clearly, the original, of which this above is but a photo, is not going to resolve the issue of the Mary Magdalene/John figure to the right of Jesus. Far better is this link to the Milan site - click on the Last Supper pic and then zoom to your heart's content.
If you accept that the cleaned up copy at the end of the link is close [and there is another one doing the rounds which is not only bright and clean but has been doctored or redrawn], then certain things are interesting.
Given that you know the arguments for it being John - that Leonardo and artists of that period painted youths as feminine, that there were only thirteen figures in all and that it appears to be Judas with the money bag below and to the front of Peter and John/Mary, then there does seem a good case for it being John.
Until you look at the zoomed in figure in detail. You make your own decision but that looks to me, not a femininized youth but a woman, the clasped hands also add support to that.
Now, if it were so, then who is the missing disciple? That's the key anomaly. Peter's left hand gesture and the knife in the right hand are also significant. Against that was that this is a painting, centuries later and that Leonardo was close enough to the reach of Rome not to risk incurring the wrath of the Church. He'd have to have been careful.
It seems pretty clear to me that he was hinting and the way in which, if you shift the figure of Mary/John to Jesus' left shoulder, it fits in perfectly with the idea of John's that he was leaning on His shoulder. Equally, it lends credence to the notion that it could have been Mary and if so, that the clasped hands signify either a wringing of hands or a penitent, innocent state, in contradiction to the prostitute legend. Then again, she'd have been reformed by the time of the Last Supper.
So, for argument's sake, if it was Mary Magdalene suggested there, why would Leonardo have suggested it? Some say because he was Priory of Sion. As a mason he'd also be likely to believe the wife of Jesus story too. Biblical references show she was certainly close to Him and I can well understand very close friendships with women which are actually platonic, despite the odds and the nudge-nudge wink-wink merchants.
Would it have killed the immortality of Christ if He had been married and if there had been an heir? All sources show that Mary Magdalene was deeply involved in the events around the crucifixion and resurrection. If you were in His shoes, knowing the agenda, knowing you were soon to ascend to heaven, would you impregnate your closest supporter?
Also, if Jesus appreciated women to that extent, why did He surround Himself with male disciples? The obvious answer was the custom of the time.
If you were to accept an heir, then each successive generation would progressively dilute the bloodline, despite it still being passed down and there was a grave risk in that for G-d. The enemy would surely try to either corrupt the line with itself [there was precedence for this] or else snuff it out.
That seems to me a great risk - better to pass, not a bloodline but an idea down through the disciples. The idea of the descendant being the returned messiah would also seem to be unnecessary - He can appear once more, just as He ascended.
Lastly, I don't think the idea of the marriage and heir affects the divinity one bit but it does seem more likely to me that she was a devotee and He may well have found comfort in her presence - who wouldn't have at His age?
The argument that He wouldn't have had the following if He'd been too close to her is a good one though but that could have cut both ways.