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The Transit of Mary Magdalene
Anonymous (Copy Coello, Claudio)
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Anonymous (Copy Coello, Claudio)

The Transit of Mary Magdalene

Late XVII century. Oil on canvas Not on display

The saint’s figure, with long blond tresses, occupies the center of the scene. Gazing at the heavens, she crosses her hands across her bosom in prayer. Her worn clothing is enveloped in large floating robes whose movement is decidedly diagonal, and the cloud on which she kneels is carried towards Heaven by Coello’s customary cherubs. Some hold the attributes that always accompany her when she is represented as a hermit, including a skull that alludes to vanity and the brevity of life and a jar of balm with which she perfumed Christ’s feet. The figures of children are repeated with marked foreshortening at the top of the canvas as part of a highly dynamic composition whose predominantly diagonal and parallel lines combine with a varied pallet to generate a sense of vibrancy.

The image presents the moment described in the Golden Legend when Mary Magdalene begins her miraculous ascent towards Heaven from the city of Marseilles. The mountainous seascape with a watchtower at the lower right may be a reference to that city, from which the saint was carried to Heaven on a daily basis to attend the Mass carried out there by the blessed. This image of Mary Magdalene was already quite frequent before the Council of Trent, but with the Counterreformation, it became even more common, as she was considered a symbol of repentance. That is why her image alludes to the sacrament of penance.

This painting from the Museo de la Trinidad, which may have been painted by a disciple or contemporary of Coello, is a copy of the large canvas signed by him in 1682 for the main altarpiece at the parish church of Ciempozuelos (Madrid). That work, in turn, is a reinterpretation, with greater compositional complexity and a fully baroque style, of the painting on the same subject by José de Ribera, now at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. Ribera’s painting was originally in El Escorial, where it was listed in the 1700 inventory and seen by Father Ximénez, Ponz and Ceán Bermúdez. Its presence in that monastery indicates that Coello, who also worked there, may have seen it. Besides the canvas shown here, there is another copy of the Ciempozuelos original at the museum in Cadiz, which Sullivan attributes to a late 17th-century painter.

Technical data

Inventory number
P001316
Author
Anonymous (Copy Coello, Claudio)
Title
The Transit of Mary Magdalene
Date
Late XVII century
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimension
Height: 190 cm.; Width: 120 cm.
Provenance
Museo de la Trinidad

Bibliography +

Cruzada Villaamil, Gregorio, Catálogo provisional, historial y razonado del Museo Nacional de Pinturas, Madrid, 1865.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Exposición Jusepe Martínez y su tiempo, Museo e Instituto de Humanidades, Zaragoza, 1982, pp. nº12.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 155.

Sullivan, Edward J., Baroque painting in Madrid: the contribution of Claudio Coello, University of Missouri Press, Columbia, 1986, pp. 185.

Sullivan, Edward J., Claudio Coello y la pintura barroca madrileña, Nerea, Madrid, 1989, pp. 228.

Noticias. Nuevos depósitos. Oviedo. Museo de Bellas Artes, Boletín del Museo del Prado, 11, 1990, pp. 116.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, 1991, pp. nº386.

Pintores del Reinado de Carlos II, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1996, pp. nº15, 58.

García Cueto, David, Claudio Coello: pintor, 1642-1693, Arco Libros - La Muralla, Madrid, 2016, pp. 144 f.77.

Other inventories +

Inv. Museo de la Trinidad, Pintura. Núm. 386.
386. / El transito de Sta María Egysiacia (sic) se la ve á esta arrebatada en los aires por un grupo de niños fs como de media vara y cuerpo entero / Autor / Rectifdo alto 1,90 ancho 1,20 / Id.id.id. con marco liso dorado / Nº 58 / G. P.

Catálogo Museo de la Trinidad, 1865. Núm. 386.
ESCUELA MADRILEÑA. [...] CLAUDIO COELLO. [...] 386. Santa María Magdalena. / Lienzo. - Al. 1,92. - An. 1,21. - Fig. 0,40. / Copia de Coello. / Arrodillada sobre un trono de nubes, el pelo suelto y las manos sobre el pecho, asciende al cielo, rodeada de multitud de ángeles y nuebs, Santa María Magdalena. Este cuadro parece ser copia en distinto tamaño del que, firmado en 1686, existe en la iglesia parroquial de Ciempozuelos.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1873-1907. Núm. 2187.
2187.-(386-L.)-Éxtasis de la Magdalena.-Remóntase por los aires en una nube que dirigen unos ángeles, y otros de éstos bajan del cielo en un rompimiento de gloria con flores y coronas para la santa penitente. / Recuerda este lienzo á Alonso Cano, á Herrera el mozo, y á Escalante; y la figura de la Santa, en particular, parece de la misma mano, de escuela de Murillo, que ejecutó la Magdalena de medio cuerpo núm. 901. / Alto, 1,90; ancho 1,20.-L.

Exhibitions +

Pintores del reinado de Carlos II
Toledo
11.04.1997 - 11.05.1997

Pintores del reinado de Carlos II
Sevilla
28.02.1997 - 06.04.1997

Pintores del reinado de Carlos II
Murcia
24.01.1997 - 23.02.1997

Pintores del reinado de Carlos II
Valencia
20.12.1996 - 19.01.1997

Pintores del reinado de Carlos II
Zaragoza
15.11.1996 - 15.12.1996

Pintores del reinado de Carlos II
Pamplona
11.10.1996 - 10.11.1996

Pintores del reinado de Carlos II
Vitoria
06.09.1996 - 06.10.1996

Pintores del reinado de Carlos II
Santander
17.05.1996 - 16.06.1996

Pintores del reinado de Carlos II
León
12.04.1996 - 12.05.1996

Pintores del reinado de Carlos II
Vigo
29.02.1996 - 31.03.1996

Location +

(Deposit)

Displayed objects +

Skull

Ointment pot

Update date: 16-01-2020 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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