Mary Magdalene, 17th c.

Oil on wood showing Mary Magdalene.
Mary Magdalene is represented with the perfume that she spread on the feet of Christ before wiping them with her hair, an initiating scene which makes her the beloved of Christ: “Your faith has saved you, go in peace” .
The sinner will become the apostle of the Apostles, the figure of the woman who loved Christ the most.
The skull is a renunciation of the vanities of life and can also lead us to believe in a cult that Mary Magdalene would render to her deceased “husband”. But this is a misnomer. Marie-Madeleine knows the secrets of life and death. As the muse of the sacred feminine, she carries and transmits this knowledge until our time, in particular through the various works of which she is the inspiring muse. The skull then symbolizes the new beginning initiated by knowledge: a passage from ignorance to gnosis and true intelligence. The book that accompanies the representations of Mary Magdalene proceeds from the same symbol. This is yet another allusion to the fact that knowledge is drawn and transmitted from the primordial ocean of feminine energy, a recurring theme in many religions.
In our painting, Mary Magdalene is represented in the sanctuary of Sainte-Baume, a cave which bears her name where, like the beloved of the Song of Songs « le Cantique des Cantiques » “dove hidden in the hollow of the rock, in steep retreats”, she could abandoned herself in to prayer and contemplation in loneliness”. A spiritual and philosophical retreat but this is another story …

14 x 11.8 inch.
Flandres,
17 c.

Height: 14,1 in.
Width: 11,8 in.
Depth: 1,1 in.

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