Mary Magdalene
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Boucicaut Master
French, Paris, about 1415 - 1420
Tempera colors and gold on parchment
8 1/16 x 5 13/16 in.
MS. 22, FOL. 274V

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The Boucicaut Master's exquisite image of Mary Magdalene with her ointment jar introduces a prayer that focuses on her: Maria stabat ad monumentum plora[n]s (Mary stood at the tomb crying). The ointment jar recalls a story long associated with Mary Magdalene, that of the woman anointing Christ's feet at the house of Simon. Believed to have been a prostitute who gave up her former life to become a follower of Christ, Mary Magdalene was an important model for repentant sinners. In this depiction, the Boucicaut Master endowed her with rich robes, a delicately modeled face, and a subdued, elegant pose, all characteristics that made him one of the most influential artists of his time.