Lieblingsstücke | Die Heilige Maria Magdalena (Mansi-Meister)

Lieblingsstücke | Die Heilige Maria Magdalena (Mansi-Meister)


My name is Jan Friedrich Richter. I work as a research associate at the Gemäldegalerie on an exhibition project on late Gothic art. One of my favourite pictures here at the Gemäldegalerie is a depiction of Mary Magdalene, which was painted by an unknown Master around 1520 in Antwerp. Mary Magdalene is one of the most popular saints in Medieval art history. As a penitent sinner and prostitute, she turned to the Christian faith and became a close confidant of Jesus. I find the work very moving because it combines the well-known story of Mary Magdalene with a number inexplicable elements. What stands out time and again is the rich, striking clothing, and the ointment container in her hands. The function of the container in this picture is somewhat unclear. Why is she showing it to the viewer, why is she showing us the open receptacle? The viewer looks into the empty container. The framing of the subject matter is very confined. Why are we standing with her in a wild, ragged, rough and imposing mountain landscape? So in a relatively subtle way, with typical techniques, elements have been incorporated into this picture that draw me back to it time and again and make me wonder what they are really supposed to mean. Because it goes beyond the usual facts, the usual details that are typically told in this story.

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