These rapid and lively pen-and-ink sketches are studies for the figure of Mary Magdalen, one of Christ's followers. They show Leonardo da Vinci exploring alternative ideas for the arrangment of this single figure. The artist began by drawing the larger version, later adding the smaller, more summary drawing below. In the first composition, the figure is shown looking away from the jar that she has just opened, implying that she has been interrupted and is turning to look at something. The jar she holds refers to the biblical episode in which Mary Magdalen anoints Christ's feet. In the smaller sketch, the artist first drew the saint looking down at the jar in her hands, then rotated her gaze to direct it towards the viewer. Although no related paintings by Leonardo have survived, the composition was later used by his pupils.


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