The legend of Saint Mary of Egypt has been told and created in numerous works of art, including those of Emil Nolde. Nolde, who was associated with the German Expressionist movement, created four paintings on the theme of St. Mary of Egypt, one of which is titled “St. Mary of Egypt Among Sinners”. It depicts the saint wearing a red dress and positioned at the centre among a group of sinners who look askance at her.
Another painting by Nolde is titled “St. Mary Of Egypt – Death In The Desert” which was completed in 1912. This painting captures the saint’s death in an austere setting amid desert plants and animals, shining sunlight and hazy sky. The stretched stance and listless eyes evoke a sense of solemnity that further reinforces the finality of her life story.
Emil Nolde also produced other paintings associated with his Christian belief system such as “Child And Large Bird” which was created in 1912. In this painting, he portrays Jesus Christ as a child accompanied by a majestic large bird – perhaps symbolizing sacred guardianship. Together with images associated to St Mary Of Egypt, Emil Nolde’s paintings represent important scenes from his Christian faith that offer viewers insight into symbolist devotion and mystical truths.