Sunday, January 16, 2011


Title: 'The Repenting Magdalene'
Artist: Georges de La Tour

Date: late 1630'sIncident shown: Mary surveys the mirror,
symbol of her former vanity and preoccupation
with worldly things. It casts a large shadow.
Her beauty remains, but she has clearly become
aware of the fact that there is more to life
than earthly pleasure.
Now, in the stillness of night,
she reflects on past events, and on her own
transformation through the encounter
she has had with Jesus.

Bible reference: None

Comment: The skull in Mary's lap reminds
her that Death is inevitable for all creatures,
and will come to her as well.
It suggests that she should think about
the hereafter as well as the present.
George de la Tour excelled in the use of light
and shadow, and the meditative mood that
night brings to all creatures.There is another version of this scene painted
by Georges de la Tour (see image below). In this,
the sexual undertone is more explicit -
Mary's legs and shoulder are bared,
as if she has just finished servicing a client.
But the mood of introspection and regret
are the same.
An excellent site for religous art images/art education,
particularly re: women in biblical art.


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