Object Image

The Conversion of Mary Magdalene

This is one of Veronese's earliest works, painted when he was about 18, probably for a noble patron in Verona. The lighting from the right suggests that it was made for a specific location, perhaps the side wall of a chapel.

The painting's subject has been the matter of much debate but it is now believed to show the conversion of Mary Magdalene. In western Christianity since the Middle Ages, Mary Magdalene was considered to be a promiscuous woman or a prostitute.

Martha takes her sister Mary to the Temple to hear Jesus preach as she is worried about her spiritual health. Overcome by Christ's words, Mary blushes with shame and sinks to her knees. Mary is converted by her encounter with Christ ...

c. 1548
Oil on canvas
117.5 x 163.5cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2024

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