Mary Magdalene

Regan O'Callaghan Mary Magdalene religious icon, easter story, blood egg

The story behind this icon is an interesting one. Mary Magdalene goes early in the morning to the tomb of Jesus. She arrives to discover the tomb empty and in shock drops a basket of eggs.  Jesus appears to her and tells her to go back to the disciples to tell them he has risen from the dead.  Mary gathers up her basket of eggs and runs to tell everyone the good news, but she is met with confusion and doubt.  She recounts the story of finding the tomb empty and then meeting with Jesus who at first she didn't recognise. The Lord has risen it is a miracle. Mary holds up the eggs for the disciples to see.......they have all turned blood red!

This icon was exhibited at Wallspace Gallery in 2007 for the Epiphany exhibition a collection of contemporary icons. An orthodox nun who had beautiful icons also exhibited was rather sniffy about mine.  She said it showed the absence of God because I had used black. This made me laugh as I hadn't used black but indigo for the background. (I wouldn't have a problem with using black either). Still even with this¬†criticism my icon was the first to sell!

For me writing icons is an act of prayer and encouragement.

Saint Saviour

 Regan O'Callaghan saint Saviour's Pimlico, London church, religious icon, egg tempera, gold leaf, church entranceI am based in a studio at Saint Saviour's Church Pimlico. Last year the Church Council commissioned me to write an icon for the church and it was completed and dedicated this Easter.  Here is a description of the icon.

The nails of the crucifixion are being carried off by the rose vine. They no longer pierce and maim but are being transformed by the creative power of the Divine.  The arch is based on the front entrance of Saint Saviour's Church. In this icon it is the entrance to the tomb.  Above Jesus's head is a crown of thorns which has also been redeemed. Jesus's hands are held out as if to say "look these hands which have been stretched and deformed by torture still bear the marks of that torture".  In the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene goes to embrace the risen Jesus when she recognises him outside the tomb. He says to her " Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father". I understand this as meaning Jesus is still in a period of transition. The flowing patterns or Koru on his robes begin to show the change from linear masculine lines of dogma to creative shapes and patterns more associated with the feminine. A balance between the two states of being reflecting the true likeness of God.