Saint Mary Magdalene at the Sepulchre

Object Details


Saint Mary Magdalene at the Sepulchre


Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo (Italian (Lombard), active about 1480 - after 1548)




Italy (Place created)


about 1530s


Oil on canvas


92.7 x 79.4 cm (36 1/2 x 31 1/4 in.)

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Giovanni Savoldo depicts Mary Magdalene peering from behind shimmering folds of satin fabric. Although Christ does not appear, the strong light that bathes the left half of the painting implies his illuminating presence. The half-shadow cast on the Magdalene's face makes her appear vulnerable and tentative while also functioning as a metaphor for her enlightenment. Her slightly inclined head resting upon her cloaked right hand suggests an air of contemplation as she comes to recognize Christ's presence. Her sumptuous clothing may allude to her former life as a prostitute, and her attribute of the ointment jar, seen in the lower left corner, refers both to her anointing of Jesus' feet at a dinner and to her expectation of anointing the body of Christ in his tomb.

by 1806 or 1816

Possibly George Greville, second earl of Warwick, second earl Brooke, 1746 - 1816 (Warwick Castle, England), possibly by inheritance to his son, Henry Richard Greville.

possibly 1816 - 1853

Possibly Henry Richard Greville, third earl of Warwick, third earl Brooke, English, 1779 - 1853 (Warwick Castle, England), possibly by inheritance to his son, George Guy Greville.

possibly 1853 - 1893

Possibly George Guy Greville, fourth earl of Warwick, fourth earl Brooke, 1818 - 1893 (Warwick Castle, England), possibly by inheritance to his son, Francis Richard Charles Guy Greville.

possibly 1893 - 1924

Possibly Francis Richard Charles Greville, fifth earl of Warwick, fifth earl Brooke, 1853 - 1924 (Warwick Castle, England), possibly by inheritance to his son, Leopold Guy Francis Maynard Greville.

possibly 1924 - 1928

Possibly Leopold Guy Francis Maynard Greville, sixth earl of Warwick, sixth earl Brooke, 1882 - 1928 (Warwick Castle, England), possibly by inheritance to his son, Charles Guy Fulke Greville.

1928 - 1968

Charles Guy Fulke Greville, seventh earl of Warwick, seventh earl Brooke, 1911 - 1984 (Warwick Castle, Warwickshire, England) [sold, Warwick sale, Christie's, London, June 21, 1968, lot 71, to Hallesborough.]

1968 -


by 1971

David M. Koetser Gallery (Zürich, Switzerland)

- 1978

Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's, London, November 1, 1978, lot 20.]

Private Collection (Zürich, Switzerland)

- 1997

Derek Johns, Ltd. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997.

Art Treasures of Warwickshire (May 29 to July 3, 1948) (Cat. 60)
  • Leamington Spa, May 29 to July 3, 1948
Italian Painting from the Thirtheenth to the Seventeenth Century (1955) (Cat. 94)
  • Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery, (Birmingham), 1955
Art Treasures Centenary: European Old Masters (October 30 to December 31, 1957) (Cat. 53)
  • Manchester Art Gallery, (Manchester), October 30 to December 31, 1957
Giovanni Gerolamo Savoldo: tra Foppa, Giorgione e Caravaggio (March 3 to September 3, 1990) (Cat. 20)
  • Schirn Kunsthalle (Frankfurt), July 8 to September 3, 1990

Field, William. An Historical and Descriptive Account of the Town and Castle of Warwick [...] (Warwick: H. Sharpe, 1815) p. 218.

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Beschreibendes Verzeichnis der Gemälde im Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum. 8th ed. (Berlin: Vereinigung Wissenschaftlicher Verleger; W. de Gruyter & Co., 1921) p. 425, under no. 307.

Art Treasures of Warwickshire Exhibition, exh. cat. (Leamington: n.p., 1948) p. 11, no. 60.

Garlick, Kenneth. "Italian Art in Birmingham." The Connoisseur 136, no. 547 (September 1955) p. 37.

Gilbert, Creighton E. "The Works of Gerolamo Savoldo." Ph.D. diss. 2 vols. (New York: Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, 1955) vol. 1, p. 493, no. 104.

Waterhouse, Ellis K. "The Italian Exhibition at Birmingham." The Burlington Magazine 97, no. 630 (September 1955) p. 295, fig. 31.

Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: A List of the Principal Artists and Their Works with an Index of Places: Venetian School. 2 vols. (London: Phaidon, 1957) vol. 1, p. 159.

Art Treasures Centenary: European Old Masters, exh. cat. (Manchester: City of Manchester Art Gallery, 1957) p. 15, no. 53.

Gilbert, Creighton. "Problemi della documentazione Bresciana per il Savoldo." In Commentari dell'Ateneo di brescia per l'anno 1959 (Brescia: Ateneo de Brescia, 1959) p. 64.

Gould, Cecil. National Gallery Catalogues: The Sixteenth-Century Italian Schools (excluding the Venetian) (London: National Gallery, 1962) p. 171.

Boschetto, Antonio. Giovan Gerolamo Savoldo (Milan: Bramante, 1963) under pl. 24.

Boch, H. Katalog der Ausgestellten Gemälde des 13.-18. Jahrhunderts, exh. cat. (Berlin: Mann Verlag, 1975) p. 391, under no. 307.

Gould, Cecil. National Gallery Catalogues: The Sixteenth-Century Italian Schools (1959; rev. ed. London: National Gallery, 1975; repr., 1987) pp. 236-37.

Sotheby's, London. Highly Important Old Master Paintings Chiefly of the Italian Schools of the XIV, XV & XVI Centuries and of the French and Italian Schools of the XVIII century, also Paintings of the Dutch, Flemish and Spanish schools. November 1, 1978 unpaginated, lot 20, ill.

Formiciova, T. "Giorgione e la formazione della pittura di genere nell'arte veneziana del XVI secolo." In Giorgione: Atti del convego internaionale di studio per il 5. centenario della nascita [...] (n.p.: Banca Popolare di Asolo e Montebelluna, 1979) p. 163.

Stradiotti, Renata. "L'opera del Savoldo attraverso la graficia." In Giovanni Gerolamo Savoldo pittore Bresciano: Atti del convegno (Brescia: Moretto, 1985) pp. 132-33.

Gilbert, Creighton E. The Works of Girolamo Savoldo: The 1955 Dissertation, with a Review of Research, 1955-1985 (New York and London: Garland, 1986) pp. 61, 163, 493, no. 104.

Pardo, Mary. "The Subject of Savoldo's Magdalene." The Art Bulletin 17, no. 1 (March 1989) pp. 67n2, 68n3, 72n16.

Giovanni Gerolamo Savoldo tra Foppa Giorgione e Caravaggio, exh. cat. (Milan: Electa, 1990) p. 146, under no. I.19; pp. 148-49, no. I.20, ill., entry by Renata Stradiotti; p. 150, under no. I.21.

Five Centuries of Old Master Paintings, exh. cat. (London: Harari & Johns, Ltd., 1991) unpaginated, no. 4.

Frangi, Francesco. Savoldo: Catologo completo dei dipinti (Milan: Cantini, 1992) pp. 100-01, no. 29, ill.

Sherrill, Tawny. "Who was Cesare Vecellio? Placing Habiti Antichi in Context." In Medieval Clothing and Textiles. Robin Netherton, Gale R. Owen-Crocker, eds. (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2009) vol. 5, pp. 185-87, fig. 7.9.

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