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.