Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Spanish, 1617-1682
Title: The Penitent Magdalene
Date: 1650-1655
Medium: Oil on canvas
152 x 104 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 1962 (Shaw Fund)
Object Number: NGI.1720
Label TextMary of Magdala is shown kneeling in prayer at the entrance to a dark cave. Wealthy and dissolute and known as 'the sinner', she was converted by Christ and became one of his most devoted followers. She was unfaltering in her faith, grief and love, and as such became a symbol of Christian penitence. The subject of the repentant Magdalene was widespread during the Counter-Reformation and enjoyed particular popularity in Spain. Active in Seville, Murillo was a highly prolific artist of religious paintings in which he combined realism with a taste for sentimental beauty.