Probably Augsburg, Germany; early 17th century
Approximate size: 27 x 21 cm
The present relief, depicting Mary Magdalene in penitence, is modeled with exceptional care and detail, suggesting an unknown master’s hand at work. The sculpture’s expressive vitality is discovered in the undulating folds of drapery which complement the protagonist’s long billowing hair. The delicacy of modeling sets the saint in an atmospheric mélange of rock and foliage from which she emerges renewed by God’s grace.
The relief likely follows a graphic model as its source. One other reproduction of the subject, executed in alike manner though by a different hand, is located at the Victoria & Albert Museum (Inv. A.28-1930), suggested by Ingrid Weber as having a probable origin in Augsburg, Germany during the first half of the 17th century, to which we may also assign the present relief.
Ingrid Weber (1975): Deutsche, Niederlandische und Franzosische Renaissanceplaketten, 1500-1650. Munchen, Germany: Bruckmann. No. 432
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