• Repentant Mary Magdalene

    Artist:
    Canova, Antonio. 1757-1822
    Dimensions:
    height: 95 cm

Canova, Antonio. 1757-1822

Repentant Mary Magdalene

Italy, 1808-1809

Canova, an outstanding sculptor of the late 18th - early 19th century, the head of the school of Neoclassicism in Rome, did not often make use of biblical subjects in his work, but this figure of the repentant Magdalene is an excellent piece from his late period. According to legend, the sinner Mary Magdalene repented after meeting Christ and spent many years in the desert, where she lamented her past sins. In keeping with tradition, Canova shows the Magdalene as a young beautiful woman dressed as a hermit. The skull at her feet signifies the brevity of earthly existence. Mary once held a cross, symbol of the Crucifixion. In the grief-stricken figure and the gesture of the helpless, drooping hands, we see not a Classical ideal of beauty but an emotional image which reflects the observation of nature. Born into a family of stonemasons, the sculptor had a perfect mastery of the art of working with marble. The polished marble of the Magdalene's body and the shining surface of the skull contrast with the roughly worked rock of the base.

Title:

Repentant Mary Magdalene

Place:

Date:

Material:

Dimensions:

height: 95 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1922; handed over by the State Museum Fund; formerly in the collection of the Duke of Leuchtenberg, Petrograd

Inventory Number:

Н.ск-1108

Category:

Collection:

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