Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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Saint Mary Magdalene
  • Spain
  • Saint Mary Magdalene, circa 1330
  • Where object was made: possibly Estvella , Navarre, Spain
  • limestone, plaster
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 90.8 x 26.9 x 21 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 35 3/4 x 10 9/16 x 8 1/4 in
  • Museum purchase
  • Not on display
  • 1961.0032
Label Text

The saint stands in an emphatic hip-shot position, holding a large cylindrical jar in one hand and a book in the other. Although the attribute of the book is unusual, the jar identifies the figure as the Magdalen, a saint whose popularity was ensured by her appeal to the individual penitent. The figure is carved from a soft, fine-grained white limestone. Traces of ocher underpainting can be seen all over the figure, and flakes of polychromy remaining in the less visible areas of the drapery, particularly under the right arm and in the folds on the lower left side, indicate that the saint wore a blue mantle with red lining. The head, once separated from the body, has been reattached with areas of fill. A slight ridge under the chin suggests that damage to the lower face was restored at the same time. Areas of modern fill have also been applied to losses in the veil and barbette. The base and both feet have been broken and repaired in plaster.