© Hildesheim, St Godehard |
ANNOUNCES THE RESURRECTION TO THE APOSTLES
John 20:18; Mark 16:9-10
A column divides the scene into unequal parts, with Mary Magdalen in profile
isolated commandingly in her own rectangle while the eleven apostles crowd
together under an arch. Mary is telling the disciples that she has seen
the risen Lord (John 20:18). The apostles look amazed, clutching books
and raising their hands.
At this date Mary Magdalen’s announcement to the apostles is rare
in western art, although it is depicted in Byzantine manuscripts like
Florence, Laurenziana MS.Plut. VI.23, f97. The Gospels of Henry the Lion
(c1175, formerly Gmunden) derive their iconography from the St Albans
Psalter formula but the scene is accompanied by speech scrolls in which
the apostles ask ‘Dic nobis, Maria, quid vidisti in via?’
and she says ‘Sepulchrum Christi viventes (et) gloriam vidi resurgentes’.
These words, composed in the 11th century, were incorporated in the liturgical
Easter play Quem quaeritis by the 12th century (Young, 1933,
149). This is another indication of drama influencing the fresh iconography
of the St Albans Psalter. (AP, 63, pl 115)
Mary’s authoritative role as ‘apostle to the apostles’
derives from her witness of Christ’s risen body in the previous
scene. Christina’s visions of Christ, both as a baby and pilgrim,
give her similar authority, particularly over Abbot Geoffrey.
Thread or stitch holes for protective curtain