Saint Mary Magdalene in the Desert, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes
Pierre Puvis de Chavannes
Saint Mary Magdalene in the Desert
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Pierre Puvis de Chavannes

Saint Mary Magdalene in the Desert, before 1870


Dimensions
156.5 x 105.5 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
1457
Acquisition
Acquired in 1910, Property of Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.
Status
On display

Texts

About the Work

Viciously carnal or ascetically repentant? The depiction of the rueful sinner Mary Magdalene leaves room for both interpretations. Puvis de Chavannes’s portrayal of the penitent before a sparse landscape almost as an abstract, allegorical figure. Her sensuality is confined to her bare breast, framed by her long hair – a motif that is ruptured by the skull and her fixed gaze. At the time of Impressionism, the artist achieved clear compositions of classical grandeur.

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Work Data

Basic Information

Title
Saint Mary Magdalene in the Desert
Painter
Period Produced
School
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Material
Technique
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert unten links (in Braun): Puvis de Chavannes

Property and Acquisition

Institution
Administration
Collection
Picture Copyright
© Städel Museum, Foto: U. Edelmann
Acquisition
Acquired in 1910, Property of Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.

Work Content

Motifs and References

Genre
Main Motif
Persons Shown
Associated Persons and Institutions
Illustrated Passage
  • Die Legenda aurea des Jacobus de Voragine, übersetzt von Richard Benz, Heidelberg 1984, S. 477

Iconclass

Primary
  • 11HH(MARY MAGDALENE)36 the penitent St. Mary Magdalene (often before a cave, possibly at La Sainte-Baume hill): her long hair covers her (naked) body, she reads, meditates or raises her tear-filled eyes towards heaven
  • 31F11 death's head, skull (symbol of Death)
Secondary
  • 25H112 rocks
  • 25F41 lizards
  • 31AA2311 'contrapposto', 'Standbein und Spielbein' - AA - female human figure
Associative
  • 61D(SAINTE BAUME) geographical names of countries, regions, mountains, rivers, etc. (SAINTE BAUME) (SAINTE BAUME)

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Last import

16.09.2019