Mary Magdalene’s Body as a Battleground | A lecture by Lieke Wijnia

Exhibition EventsTalks

  • 9 Mar
  • 7pm - 8pm
  • All Welcome
  • Online

Dr. Lieke Wijnia is an art historian and religious studies scholar. She works as Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Museum Catharijneconvent, the national museum for Christian art and heritage of The Netherlands.

She is also a lecturer of Heritage and Museum Studies at University College Utrecht. Her recent publications include Resonating Sacralities. Dynamics between Religion and the Arts in Postsecular Netherlands (De Gruyter 2022), Mary Magdalene. Chief Witness, Sinner, Feminist (Waanders 2021) and Beyond the Return of Religion: Art and the Postsecular (Brill 2018).

Barbara Kruger’s iconic artwork declared women’s bodies battlegrounds. This metaphor most certainly applies to the enigmatic Mary Magdalene. Throughout history, her bodily features have been invested with meaning: whether she is clothed or not, whether she wears her hair down or not, whether she is kneeled, bowed down, or standing up straight. Often visual art represents a particular physical appearance of Mary Magdalene. However, in contemporary artworks, her physicality has a mixed presence. In this online lecture, curator Lieke Wijnia will take examples from Mary Magdalene: The Exhibition (on view in 2021 at Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht) by means of which she explores a variety of contemporary artistic interpretations. Wijnia shows how artists that avoid the physicality, as well as others that embrace it, shed light on notions of morality, wisdom and rehabilitation in relation to Mary Magdalene.