The Magdalen Reading

Despite the 2000 year old controversy about the woman of Magdala’s personal behavior, I like to think of her as the wealthy, educated scholar who fell in love with Christ. 

Here is a masterpiece I fell in love in an art history class. Rogier van der Weyden, the Flemish master, the Town Painter of Brussells, home of the magnifico Dukes of Burgundy, whose own son became a monk, has rendered her seated on the floor of a rich person’s house, dressed in extravagently opulent clothes. I like this matchless rendition of Mary Magdalen.

(c.1435) Fragment from a lost altarpiece.

In the National Gallery of London. You can go to their website and take a virtual tour and see the actual painting up close if you can’t go in person today. Then you might click Google and look at this with some good closeups, and another amazing thing: from Mary of Clopas, Van der Weyden’s rendition of a woman crying tears so real you feel her pain.

Below is my small original etching by another Dutch Master. Click on “Religious Paintings” above for more information.