Scipione Pulzone, known as Il Gaetano (Gaeta, 1544 - Rome, 1598) workshop of
Mary Magdalene at the Tomb
Oil on canvas (131 x 99 cm. - Framed 142 x 110 cm.)
The protagonist of our canvas is a seductive Mary Magdalene, depicted in tears with her gaze full of emotion, left alone to contemplate the tomb of Christ, on the day after his crucifixion, where, seeing it empty, she pronounces the words inscribed on the stone 'Tulerunt Dominum meum', or 'They have taken away my Lord'.
Fully in tune with the language of the Counter-Reformation, Mary Magdalene is portrayed with her long hair flowing down her body, her forehead wrinkled and her eyes weeping in repentance, and her hands devoutly clasped in prayer, so as to effectively express the narrative of the theme.
The iconographic aim aims at a sentimental involvement of the spectator, attracted by the tone of diffused sensuality and the loveliness of the woman, clothed in precious fabrics.
From an analysis of the work, which is of excellent quality and can be dated to the height of the 17th century, we are inclined to attribute it to an artist, presumably active in Rome, from the workshop of the painter Scipione Pulzone, one of the greatest exponents of late Mannerism and one of the most original interpreters of the age of the Counter-Reformation.
The very refined rendering of the dress, truly extraordinary in the meticulous definition of the silver brocade, enriched by the golden embroidery of the phytomorphic decorations, the highlighting of the hair, rendered by veils of extraordinary transparency, the descriptive taste of the ointment vase which seems to be a copy from life of an object of high goldsmith production of the time, as well as the beauty, albeit suffering, of the Saint, make the canvas an important episode linked to the production of the artist, still imbued with Florentine Mannerist taste, aimed at a painting that is precious in every detail.
The painting finds interesting parallels with the canvas of a similar subject painted by Pulzone for the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome (imm. 1 http://catalogo.fondazionezeri.unibo.it/ricerca.v2.jsp?locale=it&decorator=layout_resp&apply....
A second version is also known, today conserved in the collections of the Fondazione Cariplo (imm. 2), and referred to Pulzone by the historian Federico Zeri, one of the greatest connoisseurs of the painter, who dedicated his essay Pittura e Controriforma - L'"arte senza tempo" di Scipione da Gaeta to him.
Our version presents the same accuracy of style and draftsmanship, corroborated by the beautiful conservation of the painted surface.
It is worth noting that our work, in terms of pictorial quality, does not belong to that series of mere copies executed in an often spartan manner and lacking in finesse, but is rather the fruit of a high-level workshop. The work fully embodies the stylistic dictates of Pulzone's painting, such as the faces with marked features marked by skilful chiaroscuro, with expressive eyes, marked by fine lines to outline the eyebrows and the contour of the lips, evoking the author's considerable skill in portraiture as well.
Delevery information :
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