Looking at Holy Week through Art – Monday, April 6, 2020

Unction of Christ by Maria Stankova

In the Unction of Christ by Maria Stankova, with the disciples staring on in stunned belief, a woman named Mary breaks open a jar of perfume worth a year’s wages and pours it over Jesus’ feet. Participating in this very sensual and intimate anointing, are only Jesus and Mary, the others are merely onlookers. Just like all biblical kings had been anointed in the past, as a sign of their royal and chosen status; in a humble home, Mary anoints Jesus the Christ. Mary claims Jesus as the King of her life, her Lord and her Savior-all with one selfless act.
The smell of the perfume must have been intense and intoxicating. The fluid on Jesus’ skin and on Mary’s hands, feels thick like olive oil, not watery, I imagine. The precious liquid saturates His feet, as the costly fluid pools there. Then Mary kneels down, bends forward and caresses Jesus’ feet with her hair. Wiping up the excess oil and showing her total devotion.
Unlike the other disciples who are removed from this moment due to their lack of understanding by Stankova, Mary has a deep understanding of who Jesus is, of what He has taught her, and the gift He is going to offer at the end of the week.
The scene is almost too intimate to watch, yet the artist invites us just to His feet; to focus upon the brown toes of Jesus and the long dark hair of Mary. The use of the color red symbolizes passion, love, or maybe the spilling of blood that will come soon.
Amazed, I find myself so humbled at the natural way in which this woman expresses her love to the One, I believe, she knows she is going to have to let go of; the One who has transformed her life completely. Mary does this for Him. A moment of recognition, relief, preparation, love, and pure discipleship.