Marina Warner - Mary Magdalene and Her Jar: Fragrant oils, Luxury and Sin


  • 16 Apr
  • 7pm - 8:30pm
  • Tickets by Donation

In this fully illustrated zoom lecture Marina Warner will uncover the long associations of balm with the pleasures and solace of the East.

Rua Red are delighted to announce our new online Active Research Programme as part of the Magdalene Series. Over the course of the next few months Rua Red will bring some of the foremost academics, activists, researchers, theologians and feminists to speak about themes within the forthcoming exhibitions by Amanda Coogan, Alice Maher, Rachel Fallon, Jesse Jones and Grace Dyas.

Marina Warner is our third speaker in the series. She is a writer of fiction and cultural history, myth and fairy tale, author of Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and Cult of the Virgin Mary, Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism, Monuments & Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form and From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers, amongst other works.

Her new book, Inventory of a Life Mislaid, has just been published (HarperCollins). In it she explores her childhood in Egypt; drawing on gifts and love tokens, objects and mementos, letters and journals, negative film found coiled in a canister, this ‘unreliable memoir’ pieces together the reckonings and discoveries her Italian mother and English father made in Cairo, where he opened a bookshop. During her archival research, she found an old map of Cairo, which marked the very spot where ’the real balm is gathered’. This set her off on a fascinating quest: she uncovered legends about Mary Magdalene and her jar of precious oils as well as stories about myrrh, the Flight into Egypt, and the uses of unguents and perfumes. In this fully illustrated lecture, she will uncover the long associations of balm with the pleasures and solace of the East, and the deep-rooted link between women and sexual temptation, which was keenly felt by her Catholic mother.

Image: Mary Magdalene, Jan Van Scorel, 1530

Tickets for this event are by Donation - €10 would be very much appreciated, but in these difficult times anything is very welcome.