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Mary Magdalene Pierre Puvis de Chavannes

Artist

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes Lyon, 1824 – Paris, 1898

Date 1897
Object type painting
Medium, technique oil on canvas
Dimensions

116.5 x 89.5 cm

Inventory number 389.B
Collection Department of Art after 1800
On view This artwork is on view at the permanent exhibition

Puvis de Chavannes, who distinguished himself by his original and poetic treatment of mythological and allegorical themes, also contributed to the renewal of religious painting. Mary Magdalene, one of his last works, shows the saint in her last retreat, traditionally designated as the cave of Sainte-Baume in Provence. The landscape, whose aridity is accentuated by the brilliant light of the south, is reduced to a few rocks and the expanse of a cloudless sky. The figure, showed in an attitude of profound introspection, appears half-naked, lost in her thoughts. Although Puvis revisits here a theme that he had already explored thirty years earlier, he makes the choice to strip the composition of any superfluous element and removes the traditional attributes of the saint: with an extreme simplicity of means, the artist has been able to translate her abandonment, the depth of her melancholic contemplation.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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