Salome (not the one related to Herod) was one of the women in Christ’s inner circle. While the canonized text merely identifies her as a “follower” Christ and one of the women present at his empty tomb, other historical documents and apocryphal writings give us a much richer picture. They indicate she was the mother of the apostles James and John and possibly a close relative of Mother Mary. While the current English translation labels her as a follower, or simply someone within Christ’s social retinue, older translations label her as a disciple, or a theological student, of Christ. Just one of the many examples of how the women in the New Testament have been stripped of their ecclesiastical importance with time. Historical writings also indicate she may have led a congregation of Christians after Christ’s death.
As the mother of two apostles, I imagine her as wise and weathered matron within the early Christian church. A woman who had a quiet but persuasive presence. A woman empowered by the message and leadership of Christ. She is set against a background of lapis lazuli a symbol of the presence of deity, the heavens, wisdom, and truth in many ancient cultures. Coincidentally the paint color primarily used for the background, ultramarine, was historically made from ground lapis and was one of the most expensive paints in the market for hundreds of years, hence why it was often reserved for the clothing of Mother Mary in paintings. ?