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Showing posts from April, 2013

The Penitent Magdalene Revisited

Ever since I wrote the original posting on Giaquinto’s Penitent Magdalene, I have had unanswered questions brewing in the back of my head about this intriguing painting. So, when I was in Manhattan last August, I jumped on the first chance to get to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and took that long awaited second look at this masterpiece. If you have not read my earlier post, I recommend that you read it, as I will build upon some of the concepts already mentioned there. You can read it Here.


A Thorny Vine 

In a “penitent” painting, it is a little surprising that Giaquinto chose to forgo the cilice as her outer garment and put Mary Magdalene into a flowing white and blue gown. However, he chose to put a sliver of a thorny vine visible only under her right arm. It appears to wrap around her ribcage underneath her robes.

Perhaps the artist is making a statement by doing this. The message I hear when looking at it is that, no matter what your outward appearance is, what is important is t…