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" Live out of your imagination

not your history "

Stephen R. Covey

Zosimus gives his cloak to St Mary of Egypt

August 31st, 2009

A while back I wrote a post about an image of Mary Magdalene, wondering if any reader knew more about it. Within minutes someone on the other side of the world provided the missing information that had eluded me.

I’m now on the hunt for an image of St Mary of Egypt for my next book, and wonder if anyone knows the name of the painter or can provide any more information on this image, entitled ‘Zosimus gives his cloak to St Mary of Egypt’? I’ve found it on Professor Christopher Witcombe’s art history site, but can’t trace it further.


5 Responses to “Zosimus gives his cloak to St Mary of Egypt”

  1. hmm…I found another one…

    Oljemålning ID::. 52374

    All GIOTTO di Bondones Oljemålningar, Klicka Här!

    The Hermit Zosimus Giving a Cloak to Magdalene
    1320s Fresco Magdalene Chapel

    in a swedish art gallery…

  2. Despite it being years after your question I have two responses.

    1) the work in the previous comment is actually in the Magdalen Chapel in the lower church in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.
    As you will note, it is Mary Magdalen, not Mary of Egypt. Which brings me to point two.

    2) There is a lot of confusion between these two saints, but despite the title, I would wonder if it is in fact the Magdalen. The image is rather small so it is hard to make much out, that would provide additional information. However Mary of Egypt should not receive a cloak, but the host, from her holy visitor (zosimus). Mary Magdalen is visited by an unnamed priest in the variant account in the Golden Legend by Jacobus de Voragine.

    I would therefore suggest that it is more likely this is the Magdalen.
    Did you ever find anything further about it?

  3. Thank you Sarah, I never did find anything further, but I had thought it was clearly Mary of Egypt, since she is naked (for which she is well-known, whereas I wasn’t aware of the association of nakedness with Mary Magdalen, but perhaps there is this association?)
    Incidentally, I’ve learnt that John Tavener has written an opera called ‘Mary of Egypt’ that sounds wonderful. I’m just trying to track down a copy.

  4. just reminding the last poster the facet that Mary Madalen was caught in adultery I believe…Either that or she had that reputation.

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