Mary Magdalene is one of the principal repentant saints in Christian art. Here, she is shown with her attributes—crucifix, skull, scripture, and ointment jar—raising her tear-filled eyes toward heaven.

Philippe de Champaigne's religious paintings were influenced by his adherence to Jansenism, a French Catholic sect of great austerity, in the latter 1640s. Made for a Parisian convent, The Repentant Magdalen depicts the saint at the entrance to a cave, a setting derived from the medieval legend that later in life she lived in retreat in a grotto at Sainte-Baume in France. The crisp lines and icy colors contribute to this painting's tone of pious sobriety.


  • Title: The Repentant Magdalen
  • Creator: Phillippe de Champaigne
  • Creator Lifespan: 1602 - 1674
  • Creator Nationality: French
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Date Created: 1648
  • Physical Dimensions: w88.9 x h115.9 cm (unframed)
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: MFAH
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Credit Line: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, museum purchase funded by the Agnes Cullen Arnold Endowment Fund

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