The repentant sinner Mary Magdalen, her eyes red with weeping, holds the flask of ointment with which she anointed Christ’s feet. Her rich garment of fur and brocade is a reminder of her worldly past - and an opportunity for the artist to show his skill in representing the fall of light on different surfaces. The influence of the Italian painter Caravaggio (1571-1610), whose style affected the work of many Dutch artists, is apparent in the dramatic lighting which makes the figure stand out boldly against the darker background.


  • Title: The Magdalen
  • Creator: Paulus Bor
  • Date Created: About 1635
  • tag / style: Paulus Bor; Religious; Magdalen; Mary; ointment; flask; fur; brocade; red eyed; weeping; repentant; Schildersbent; woman
  • Physical Dimensions: w608 x h657 cm (Without frame)
  • Artist biographical information: Although a contemporary of Rembrandt's, Bor favoured a different painting style. His work is characterised by a combination of dramatic lighting effects and a classical formalisim. Bor was influenced by the work of Caravaggio, which he saw during his stay in Rome in the 1620s. Whilst living in Rome, Bor was a founder member of the Schildersbent (a loosely organised group of Dutch artists in Rome established in 1623) under the pseudonym of Orlando. On his return from Rome Bor worked primarily in Amersfoort and Utrecht.
  • Additional artwork information: To learn more about the Walker Art Gallery’s 17th-century Dutch and Flemish art on display please follow this link: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/collections/room-guide/room-four.aspx
  • Type: Oil on wood panel
  • Rights: Purchased in 1952

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