A Brief Look at Mary Magdalene

1071 Words Jan 29th, 2018 4 Pages
She has been represented in a variety of tropes and styles; which were subject to the religious, political, and social standards of the time. Giacomo Galli’s Saint Mary Magdalene was painted in the early seventeenth century in Italy, at the beginning of the Baroque era. By contorting Magdalene’s body, bathing her in light and encompassing her in darkness, Galli was able to present the viewer with an image representative of her divided identity.
Galli likely chose to paint the Magdalene because she was one of the most popular saints in Baroque Italy. As Susan Haskins (author of Mary Magdalen: Myth and Metaphor) notes, “from the thirteenth century, the penitent Magdalene became the most popular image of the saint in Italy,” as the perfect example of a reformed sinner. Magdalene’s ______ demonstrated a realistic path of personal improvement. Her reputation, at the time, revolved around her supposed past as a prostitute. Historically, this meant that she was cured of a physical ailment and not of prostitution. However, as it was believed that Magdalene’s transformation from prostitute to apostle made her accessible to the Catholic community, the church exemplified this notion in order to make Magdalene a suitable role model for repentance.
Religiously charged Baroque paintings of the seventeenth century, such as Galli’s Saint Mary Magdalene, were created by two distinctly…
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