Penitent Magdalene – ON RESERVE
1635-1640
38.25" x 28.15625"
Framed: 47" x 36.875"
Painting, Oil on canvas
Region: Italy
Francesco Gessi was one of the most talented disciples of Guido Reni (1575-1642), with whom he collaborated in Rome, Ravenna, Mantua, and Naples. Although Gessi soon became an independent and successful master in Bologna, he continued to look at his master’s paintings for inspiration, and was able to adapt Guido’s style to his own with originality and intelligence.

The subject of the Magdalene as a sinner and fallen woman returned to the path of virtue by Jesus was very popular in the 17th century, allowing artists to combine eroticism and religion without courting scandal. This version of the subject shows her at a moment of elation and deep repentance, with tears in her eyes (referring to her washing Jesus’ feet and drying them with her hair) and her gaze raised heavenwards.

About the Artist
(1588 - 1649)