Mary Magdalene
Date: 1877
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 29 7/8 × 25 3/8 in. (75.9 × 64.5 cm) frame: 42 × 37 3/4 in. (106.7 × 95.9 cm)
Credit Line: Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935
Object Number: 1935-23
About: Although the model for this painting has not been identified, it may have been Rossetti’s housemaid, whose name has come down to us in the present day only as “Mary.” She personifies the archetypical Pre-Raphaelite notion of beauty with her red hair, large lips, and enticing brown eyes. Biblical themes were particularly prevalent in the early work of the Pre-Raphaelites. The stimulus for the creation of this relatively late work, however, is not known. Certainly the concept of the fallen woman was one which Rossetti took up repeatedly.
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