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  • Writer's pictureElaine Kelly

Art of Mary of Clopas in Emmaus

Updated: Apr 15

While traditional art and Renaissance paintings portray Clopas and a male companion on the road to Emmaus, it is very possible that Clopas and his wife Mary were travelling home from Jerusalem together. This post is part 2 Emmaus and the other disciple in art.

The gospel of John names Mary of Clopas at the cross, and Matthew says she watched his body being laid in the tomb. Early historians point to Clopas as the brother of Joseph (uncle of Jesus). The conversation between Clopas and his companion (Luke 24:13-35) seems to be comparing notes about what the women and men have seen and heard. The gospel accounts say that some women saw the risen Jesus in Jerusalem; that does not preclude other women from leaving the tomb after seeing the angels. In that era, when women did not speak to male strangers, it would be natural for Clopas to say "certain women of our company astonished us...". After a long walk and an intimate conversation, it would also be natural for the woman to be the hostess and invite him to supper with them as in "they held him back, saying stay with us" (Luke 24:29)

In the past, art may have been intended to show the power and authority of the church that commissioned the art, and the patriarchal message they wanted to reinforce. In researching Mary of Clopas as the companion of Clopas on the road to Emmaus, I found some art that does show a man and a woman on the road to Emmaus, and other art that portrays them in various races and cultures. I hope this art helps you see Jesus appearing to you as he did to the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Spanish artist Maximino Cerezo Barredo, has done a series of powerful paintings on the subject. He says, "My painting is not a neutral message. It cries out to be liberation."... “The painter and the priest in me came to an agreement...

I realized that art could be a vehicle for the proclamation of the Gospel”.

Scroll down for more artists' interpretations!