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The Mourning Mary Magdalene Colijn de Coter


Colijn de Coter active in Brussels between 1450/1455 and 1522/1525

Culture Netherlandish
Date ca. 1500
Object type painting
Medium, technique oil on oak

112.3 × 55.3 cm

Inventory number 5199
Collection Old Master Paintings
On view Museum of Fine Arts, First Floor, European Art 1250-1600, Cabinet 21

The repentant Mary Magdalene as an iconographical type, depicting the penitence of the beautiful young woman who has led a sinful life, was a well-known subject for painters. Here, however, Mary Magdalene appears in the role of a mourner, and, together with the Sorrowful St John the Evangelist (Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest), may have belonged to a Passion altarpiece or a Pietŕ. The prototype of this Mary Magdalene, wearing ornate, worldly clothes, tilting her head on her clasped hands and weeping, can be seen in Rogier van der Weyden’s Deposition (Prado, Madrid, late 1430s). However, in Coter’s work the gesture loses its dramatic force and the despairing grief is mitigated into a quiet sorrow. The motif of the kerchief piled in ample folds onto her head, and the decorative details of the dress show the master to be a close follower of 15th century models.

Ildikó Ember

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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