The figure of Saint Mary Magdalene was very dear to the Cardinal as an image of sincere penitence and true love of Christ. According to the classic tradition, a good rendering of Mary Magdalene was to contain three elements: the aesthetic, in the form of female beauty, the penitential, generally with a stark landscape, and the ecstatic. This painting, which is derived from the Mary Magdalene of the Palatine Gallery in Florence, is praised in the Musaeum for “the artist’s skill in maintaining proper modesty in such nudity”, and indeed the viewer’s eye is immediately attracted by the saint’s face enraptured in ecstasy. Recent cleaning of the canvas has more clearly revealed, to the left of Mary Magdalene, the jar of ointment, her iconographic emblem. More importantly, it has also uncovered the artist’s signature (Titianus fecit – “Titian made [it]”).


  • Title: Mary Magdalene
  • Creator: Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)
  • Date Created: c.1540
  • Physical Dimensions: 96 x 74 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Art Genre: Sacred art
  • Art Movement: Sixteenth century Venetian painting
  • Art Form: Painting
  • Support: Canvas

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