J. Paul Getty Museum

Three Mary’s gather at the foot of the cross in the Gospel of John 19:25: Jesus’ mother (in blue), Mary Magdalene (kneeling) and “Mary of Clopas”—that is, Mary, the wife of Clopas (perhaps the turbaned woman to the left of the cross). Clopas was an extremely rare name in Jesus’ day, appearing only once in the New Testament and once in the writings of the mid-second-century C.E. historian Hegesippus of Palestine, who gives Clopas as the name of Joseph’s brother. If both texts are referring to the same man, then Clopas would be Jesus’ uncle and Mary of Clopas, his aunt.

This crucifixion scene was painted in about 1530 by Simon Bening of Bruges to illustrate the prayerbook of Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg.