The Penitent Magdalen

Corrado Giaquinto Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 627

According to the Golden Legend, Mary Magdalen chose to spend her last days nourished only by angels’ song in an act of penitence. Giaquinto shows her dressed for self-punishment—she wears a painful metal belt with spurs known as a cilice—and turning away from her contemplation of a skull, book, and crucifix to gaze on an angel. This painting was executed for Cardinal Mario Bolognetti (1690–1756) around the time he was appointed deacon of Santa Maria ad Martyres in Rome, better known as the Pantheon. It was among six religious works by Gianquinto that hung in Bolognetti’s bedroom when he died.

The Penitent Magdalen, Corrado Giaquinto (Italian, Molfetta 1703–1766 Naples), Oil on canvas

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.