The Penitent Magdalen

Corrado Giaquinto Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 619

According to the Golden Legend, Mary Magdalen spent the end of her life in a cave near Marseilles where she was visited daily by angels, their songs her only nourishment. Giaquinto shows her dressed as a penitent (around her chest she wears a cilice, a metal belt with spurs), her gaze focused on the gesturing angel and the crown of thorns displayed by a cherub. The painting was executed for Cardinal Mario Bolognetti (1690–1756) in Rome. Giaquinto was the foremost decorative fresco painter in Italy after Tiepolo, but this moving work shows him as no less a master of religious painting.

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

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