According to Christian tradition, after meeting Christ, Mary Magdalene repented of her former sinful ways. With her ivory skin and long golden hair, the beautiful Magdalene turns her gaze toward heaven. Her cross and the skull make it clear she is meditating on the brevity of life and the salvation made possible by Christ's death. Reni created an idealized, as well as classical style influenced by ancient sculpture and by the Renaissance artist Raphael (1483-1520). This influence is visible in the Magdalene's rounded, even features, painted so smoothly that the strokes seem to disappear, in contrast with the broad, energetic strokes used for the drapery, more typical of 17th-century painting. Images of female saints sometimes depicted in a seductive manner, were very popular with some artists and patrons in the 17th century, and Reni painted many versions of this composition.