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Saint Mary Magdalene
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Saint Mary Magdalene

Description Conservation Provenance Inscription Credit
Description According to Church (but not biblical) tradition, Mary Magdalene (probably indicating that she came from the the town Magdala) was a sinful woman, who upon meeting Christ repented her former ways. She was present at the Crucifixion and later went to anoint Christ's dead body (in accordance with Jewish burial ritual), only to discover that he was resurrected. As in this painting, the Magdalene is often depicted as a great beauty with long golden hair. She is shown here transferring the ointment from a maiolica pharmacy jar to a smaller vessel. The painting has been attributed alternately to Andrea Solario and Bernardino Luini, both artists influenced by the works of Leonardo da Vinci in their definition of form and use of the subtle "sfumato" ("smoky" in Italian) technique that invisibly blends light and shade to make the contours appear soft. For more on this panel, see most recently Giovanni Morale, "'Smarrita e prediletta': Maria Maddalena nel Rinascimento lombardo" (Milan: Skira, 2014).
Date Description Narrative
Examinationexamined for condition
3/02/1943Treatmentcleaned; loss compensation; coated; other
1/01/1953Examinationexamined for condition
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore, prior to 1922 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Inscription] On ceramic jar: I. PIST
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, before 1922

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ca. 1524 (Renaissance)
oil on panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
Painted surface H: 29 3/4 x W: 23 5/16 x Approx. D: 1 in. (75.5 x 59.2 x 2.5 cm)
  • Italy (Place of Origin)


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