Mary Magdalene, Northern Italy, c. 1400

Mary Magdalene

White marble
Northern Italy, c. 1400


65 cm; 2 ft. 1⅗ in.
19 cm; 7½ in.
20 cm; 7⅞ in.


Private collection, Italy
Private collection, The Netherlands

This beautiful representation of Mary Magdalene carved in white marble and in the round was conceived to be admired from all angles. Produced in a Northern Italian workshop at the beginning of the 15th century, the saint stands with a slight sway, shown with a high domed forehead, straight nose, wide eyes, arched brows, her small delicate mouth with full lips smiling. Her separate veil rests on the rear half of her head revealing waves of hair tucked beneath, full pleats of material falling over her shoulders to her breast. She is clothed with a belted dress and swathed in a heavy mantel with voluminous folds of fabric held on each side which fall to the ground, the excess material hiding her feet. The ointment vase held in her left hand covered by a section of the coat is now missing. With movement, grace and refinement, this timeless work evokes a sense of serenity and tranquility.