sorrowful Mary Magdalene Mary Magdalene and Nicodemus

Giovanni Angelo Del Maino

Sforzesco Castle

Sforzesco Castle
Milan, Italy

This wooden statue,
like the statue depicting Nicodemus, was part of a Compianto (Mourning the Dead Christ) a polychrome sculptural group
typical of sacred art from the 14th century, showing Christ taken from the
Cross surrounded by seven figures). The entire work, which also included the
figures of the Virgin, of St. John, of Mary Magdalene, of Nicodemus and of
Joseph of Arimathea, was sculpted by Lombard sculptor Giovanni Angelo del
Maino. It is thought that the composition remained whole until the 1920s-1930s
and was then broken up for various private collections. The sculpture of Mary
Magdalene is carved from a single trunk of wood, probably the small-leaved
linden tree, and shows traces of polychromy; it depicts a female figure
kneeling at the feet of Christ, with her hair unbound, her mouth open in a cry
of grief, her arms reaching out to support the feet of Christ. These wooden groups were
not simply statues, but authentic sacred images of great importance, the
polychromy often undertaken by great painters such as Gaudenzio Ferrari. They bear witness to a notably broad cultural
context, embracing not only Italian painting but also German sculpture.
Castello Sforzesco has one of the key collections of Lombard wooden sculpture,
much of which is still spread throughout the original churches

The sculptural group called
"Mourning the Dead Christ" is composed of seven figures that surround
Christ deposed from the Cross: the Madonna, Mary Magdalene, St. John,
Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea and two pious women. The group has been broken
up and the other pieces are currently in private collections, the location of
the two Pious Women being unknown. The function of the ‘lamentation' was
instructive, intended to provoke a reaction of participating in the grief for
the death of Christ. All the figures, therefore, had to have very intense


  • Title: sorrowful Mary Magdalene Mary Magdalene and Nicodemus
  • Creator: Giovanni Angelo del Maino
  • Date Created: 1525 approx.
  • Location: Museo dei Mobili e delle Sculture lignee, Castello Sforzesco, Milan, Italy
  • Location Created: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: 117 cm
  • Provenance: Purchased from the Mazzacurati collection, Ferrara, 2016
  • Type: Wooden sculpture
  • Rights: Comune di Milano - Civiche Raccolte Artistiche, Castello Sforzesco, Milano
  • External Link: https://museodeimobili.milanocastello.it/
  • Medium: Carved wood, polychromy
  • Original title: Maria Maddalena dolente, La Maddalena e Nicodemo
  • Artist Nationality: Italian
  • Artist Death Place: Northern Italy
  • Artist Death Date: Documented until 1535
  • Artist Birth Place: Northern Italy
  • Artist Birth Date: Documented from 1496

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