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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mary Magdalene the Penitent

Mateo Cerezo 1637 - 1666
The Penitent Magdalene
signed lower right: Mateo f.c
oil on canvas
110 by 88.5 cm.; 43 1/4 by 34 7/8 in.
Private collection


Cerezo found success with this composition.

He made at least four other versions of the same painting.

His style is that of Spanish Baroque, influenced by tenebrism.

Many of his works now hang in the Prado Museum.


Mary Magdalene holds a skull, a common symbol of mortality. She may be pondering the earthly reality of our mortality and the eternal truth of the spiritual life.

The time of the sitting is obviously sometime after the Crucifixion and Resurrection. The penitent is living in poverty. She obviously has still retained her beauty.