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11 June 2009

Magdalenes by Guido Reni


The Penitent St. Mary Magdalene
(1633). Guido Reni. Image courtesy of Art / 4 / 2Day.


Description from the Art / 4 / 2Day site:
The image of the penitent Mary Magdalene enjoyed great popularity between the late sixteenth century and the first decades of the seventeenth century. Cardinal Baronius, in his hard-hitting polemics against Protestantism, employed the subject (along with that of the penitent St Peter) to emphasize the necessity and validity of penance, a sacrament discarded by the reformers. The penitent Magdalene was something of a iconographic specialty for Reni, who painted various versions to please a public that prized them and continually requested them. A splendid example of the mature style of Reni, this painting is characterized by a profound classicism in the monumental and noble figure of the saint. The refined chromatic range, lit by a cold and silvery light, is also typical of Reni's art in the 1630's.

Another version:


The Penitent St. Mary Magdalene (1635). Guido Reni. Image courtesy of Art / 4 / 2Day.

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