Art History: 5 Pictures of Hairy Mary Magdalene

I was meandering through medieval paintings for inspiration (as one does), I fell into a pit of hairy ladies.

I guess we can check that fantasy off my bucket list, am I right?

So what was happening with this very fluffy dame?

Turns out it’s Mary Magdalene, former prozzie and Jesus’ homegirl.

According to some religious historians, Mary’s hair was a reaction to the sun. After Jesus passed away, she wandered off into the desert to, you know, repent or think or whatever. Instead of getting a sunburn — as people typically do — she developed a pelt. In an era before sunblock, people had to find creative solutions.

The patriarchy intended the coif to reflect her carnality. Her locks were an externalization of her sin.

If this could happen to her, it could happen to you, you dirty girl, you.

But hey, I dig Mary’s top-to-toe mane.

We’re body positive around here.

Corpses, Anatomical Models, Bullet Wounds, and Paintings

Death, disease, tumors, and pustules peppered my family’s dinner conversation as I grew up.

“Pass the salt,” my parents said, as well as: “you wouldn’t believe what I found inside a body today.”

And also: “honey, never go into medicine.”

Disease01

I only dabble in the macabre on weekends.

My latest morbid jaunt was the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Maryland.

Disease02

The museum was chock-full of samples, specimens, illustrations, replicas, prototypes, and tools. The most beautiful and horrible things hopscotched across the line between medicine and torture.

Life-sized dolls that look like diseased humans.

Flash cards of skin lesions.

Orderly rows of scissors, saws, syringes, and knives.

Disease03

Don’t forget tidy kits for exsanguination.

Disease04

I didn’t become a doctor, but I have a stomach of steel.

Bring on the corpses.

Sketchbook Pages from the National Museum of the American Indian

Imagine two kids on the playground: a hippie kid, and a big, mean kid in boat shoes named Chet.

The hippie kid is doing fine in school until Chet transfers in. Chet kicks the crap out of the hippie kid, kills his family, and lights his house on fire.

If you’re thinking Chet sounds unkind, welcome to American history. Take a seat. Chet does plenty more for hundreds of years.

The United States has apologetically carved out a space dedicated to the hippie kid. The National Museum of the American Indian is a smooth, striking building in muted tones that nestles in with the other Smithsonian museums on the National Mall. The exterior has no angles.

Native-American-Museum

I find its blobbiness appealing. I’m sure someone bitched about it, though. People always hate cool architecture.

Inside the museum, there are a variety of exhibits, including the Treaty exhibit, which details “the diplomacy, promises, and betrayals involved in two hundred years of treaty-making between the United States and Native Nations, as one side sought to own the riches of North America and the other struggled to hold on to its homelands and ways of life.”

The extensive sadness of the Treaty exhibit cannot be overstated.

However, there were also tons of exhibits that were charming. My favorites were the ones with artifacts.

I love artifacts. 

I could draw artifacts all day.

NA-Museum

 

My favorite artifacts are masks.

And my favorite masks were the Inti Raymi Festival masks (drawn on bottom right). They look just like Guy Fawkes masks. (Or, as my mom called them, “the masks those hackers use.”)

GuyFawkes

Going to one of these Peruvian festivals has just been placed onto my bucket list!

Overall, I recommend this museum. There is a tinge of sadness associated with it, due to the obvious; but the overall feeling is celebratory, historical, and hopeful.

6 Book Reviews! In Limerick Form!

I love writing book reviews, but I often worry that they’re tedious to read. Imposing limits on them is challenging for me. And it’s fun (maybe!) for you. Let’s go!

Accomplished-Books

The Warmth of Other Suns.

As current events show
America stands in the shadow of Jim Crow.
Though you might be aghast,
it’s important to learn about the past.
You can’t fix what you don’t know.

Before Watchmen.

I grabbed this on a lark.
Its storylines are dark,
but the writing
is exciting,
and it really hits the mark.

Better Than Before.

The key to making life better
is to be a go-getter.
Set your habits;
Let them multiply like rabbits.
Use your personality type to the letter.

Failed-Books

The Bees & Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies & The City Under The Skin.

I die a little inside,
to admit that I tried —
but I failed.
I chose to bail.
I put these books aside.

As a personal note about this entry, I am absolutely never doing this format again.

This post took days to write.

Turns out I can’t rhyme at all. Basic kindergarten poetry is beyond me.