How I painted Mary Magdalene

This is the story behind my painting of Mary Magdalene.

Mary Magdalene18.tif

A few years ago I came across a tiny black and white photo on Pinterest which fascinated me. It evoked such deep emotions within me I could not stop looking at it. I felt it held an important message!

I looked up the story behind the photo and found that it was Ilse Weber, a Czech singer and poet who was sent to the Thereseinstadt Concentration camp by the Nazis with her son and husband. While there she cared  for the children, keeping up their spirits with music and lullabies.

She willingly followed her husband and the children she had been caring for when they were transferred to Auschwitz.

 When they arrived at Auschwitz, her young son, Tommy, and the other children were separated into a different line, She refused to be separated from them and joined their line.

As they moved along a Jewish “trusty” who knew her, whispered to her that they were going to the gas chamber. He told her to sit on the floor with the children and to sing as it would make their passing easier. She voluntarily accompanied them, softly singing a lullaby she had written to keep them calm. The immensely beautiful song is called Wiegala. Her husband survived.

I was so touched by this story of courage and compassion that I worked with the tiny photograph to breath life into it as a celebration of her life!

I then created a short video called “Ilse Weber Angelic Human Being” featuring this painting and her hauntingly beautiful lullaby “Weigala”

It can be found here

The expression in Ilse Weber’s eyes fascinated me and I tried to create that love and compassion in a new painting, which became my painting of Mary Magdalene.

Mary Magdalen by Glenyss Bourne