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The Ecstasy of Mary Magdalene

Artist
Francesco Albani, Italian, 1578–1660
Date
1640s
Material
Oil on copper
Made in
Italy, Europe
Classification
Paintings
Current Location
On View, Gallery 236
Dimensions
16 9/16 × 10 13/16 in. (42.1 × 27.4 cm)
Credit Line
Funds given by Mr. and Mrs. John Peters MacCarthy in memory of Ruth Peters MacCarthy
Rights
Public Domain
Object Number
512:2018
NOTES
Mary Magdalene, a Christian saint popular in the 17th century, is being carried into the sky by angels. According to a 13th-century account, she retired to a cave in southern France near the end of her life. Her daily prayer ritual, depicted here, included an ascent into heaven facilitated by a group of angels who carried her aloft. In the 17th century, Christians believed she was a converted prostitute (now known to be untrue). Since she was able to renounce her sin and follow Christianity, she was held as a model for those who had embraced the tenets of Protestantism, and who could also renounce their past and return to the Catholic Church. Francesco Albani’s training in Bologna, Italy, where artists utilized drawings made by sketching live models.
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