© 2005 Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation / Artist Rights Society (ARS), NY

Mary Magdalene weeps as she witnesses the death of Jesus on the cross, in this gouache illustration from Salvador Dali’s 1964 illuminated Biblia Sacra, commissioned by the Albaretto family of Italy. Dali is depicting the scene from John 19:25, “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.”

In the New Testament, Mary Magdalene is neither wife nor whore, but witness: She travels with Jesus throughout Galilee into Jerusalem, where she witnesses Jesus’ death and resurrection. According to the Gospel of John, she is first at the tomb and first to report what she has seen to the apostles.