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The Grieving Mary Magdalene

Painting, 1640, 133.4×102.2 cm

Description of the artwork «The Grieving Mary Magdalene»

Two favorite characters of Georges de Latour we see in his picture "Grieving Mary Magdalene". The first is the candle: a rare painting Latour without it, the candle became an identification mark that allows to "calculate" the artist among other artists tenebroso. Well, the second – of course, she repentant biblical prostitute.

That Mary Magdalene was the subject of the creative meditations of the artist can be judged by the fact that there are four left (not counting copies) distinguished, but still very similar compositions Latour. All four sitting in a dark room Magdalene reflects on the mortal in the presence of two constant attributes of the local light source and skull.

The most famous "Mary Magdalene" from the Louvre– one where the candle replaces iskusnye written glass lamp. It is called "Magdalene from the collection of Turf". A nearly identical pictureexhibited in the Museum of art Los Angeles. They Louvre Magdalene – sisters-twins with only slightly different pattern of facial features. In the National gallery of art (Washington) is third "Mary Magdalene" Latour: in composition it is a mirror for all other options, but the light source here is definitely difficult to determine: it is half obscured by standing in front of it's skull. Washington also received the Holy name from the name of the collection, which was previously: "Magdalene Fabius".

Finally, the fourth "Grieving Mary Magdalene" Latour is located in the new York Metropolitan Museum. Its distinctive name "the Magdalene Ritson". There is also the name "Mary Magdalene with two candles."
XVI and XVII century – the time when the Catholic Church fought hard with the rising Protestantism. The Protestants refused to worship anyone except Christ himself. In contrast, Catholicism is persistently inculcates the cult of saints. Naturally, it got to the kinks. "In fashion" became a religious visionary and ecstatic. Mary Magdalene such a "fashion" touched on the first one. For example, if the medieval theologians claimed that the angels were exalted Mary Magdalene at the sky on a daily basis, in the texts of the XVII century we are talking about seven on ascension day. The Holy (and former prostitute) is often depicted in an ecstatic religious frenzy, not too different from the sensual ecstasy of her past life.

Many remember Magdalene Titian, Leonardo da Vincior Agnolo Bronzino: hands pressed to the hot heaving breast, her eyes the desperation and passion. This formed the visual stereotype.

Latour is very far from such interpretations of the image. All of his Magdalene did not demonstrate a mad affectation. On the contrary, they are fixed in a state of slow and quiet reflection. What is it about? Of course, about the impermanence of things – a skull, symbolizing the vanity of all earthly things, does not allow on this score two ways.

Latour even avoids to emphasize that its heroine is a prostitute. From the Louvre and the Los Angeles Magdalene naked knees, calves and shoulders, but they are not misleading picture of the shade naked animal sensuality – so detached all at Latura looks Magdalene. About Magdalene new York we can't even say whether she is beautiful. Her face purposely turned from the viewer: art Magdalene repented and do not intend to deceive anyone. In this version there is an interesting motif of the mirror: it has long been considered an allegory of temptation, female sinfulness. Candle with a high flame like negates the mirror horizontally. It should symbolize that the flame of faith that erupted in the soul of Magdalene, has crossed its sinful past.

Author: Anna Yesterday
from 1450 rub
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Religious scene

Style of art: Baroque

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1640

Size: 133.4×102.2 cm

Artwork in selections: 9 selections

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