Scala/Art Resource, NY

NOT MARY. Two third–fourth-century scenes from the Priscilla Catacombs previously thought to represent the Virgin Mary have recently been debunked and shown to portray scenes from the lives of the deceased women, whose tombs they decorated. This scene was formerly supposed to depict the Virgin Mary with Jesus next to a prophet—or the seer Balaam. He is seen to be pointing at a star above Mary’s head, but further analysis has shown that the man’s arm did not originally point to the star—but was altered during “restoration.”