Caravaggio | Maddalena in pianto / Magdalene Grieving, 1605-1606

According to some research, "Magdalene grieving" (1605-1606), would be a preliminary study for the character of one of the most famous works of the Lombard master conserved at the Musée du Louvre "The death of the Virgin" (1601-1605).
Commissioned in 1601 for the church of Santa Maria della Scala in Rome, The Death of the Virgin (c. 1601-1606) could not have been finished before 1605-1606.
After being refused by the monks, who found it unworthy of the church, it was replaced by a work on the same subject painted by Carlo Saraceni.
A work of light and shadow
The composition is arranged around the Virgin, the painting's central theme. The compact mass of the assemblage and the posturing of the figures guide the viewer's eye toward the abandoned body. The theatrical drape of blood-red cloth heightens the scene's dramatic effect. The painter makes use of the nuances of light and shadow to model the volumes of the objects, figures, and clothing.


Caravaggio🎨 | The Death of the Virgin (1601-1606) and The Magdalene Grieving (1605-1606)

But above all he accentuates, through this process, the physical presence of the Virgin, struck by a dazzling light.
The artist creates the illusion of depth through a series of lighter areas: from the back of Mary Magdalene's neck in the foreground, the eye penetrates further into the painting, passing from Mary's face to the hands and heads of the apostles.
Suppressing all anecdotal detail, Caravaggio invests this subdued scene with extraordinary monumentality through the sole presence of these figures and the intensity of their emotions.
Revolutionary Caravaggio🎨
When he painted The Death of the Virgin (1601-1606), Caravaggio had been working in Rome for fifteen years.
The work was commissioned by a Vatican law official for his family chapel in the church of Santa Maria della Scala in Rome, but was refused by the clergy who considered it unworthy of the site. Caravaggio's brutal view, very realistic and virtually devoid of holiness, provoked strong reactions in the public of his time. 
This painting perfectly illustrates the iconographic and formal revolution that Caravaggio instigated in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
Distancing himself from the precious, affected mannerist vogue, the artist inaugurated a frank, robust, energetic style. He took on the task of translating people's reality and emotions without worrying about the conventions of representations of the sacred. His impact on the evolution of pictorial conceptions in the 17th century was considerable. | Agnès Alfandari © Musée du Louvre

Caravaggio | The Death of the Virgin (1601-1606)
Caravaggio | Magdalene Grieving, 1605-1606 (detail)
Caravaggio | Magdalene Grieving, 1605-1606 (detail)
Caravaggio | Magdalene Grieving, 1605-1606 (detail)
Caravaggio | Magdalene Grieving, 1605-1606 (detail)
Caravaggio | Magdalene Grieving, 1605-1606 (detail)
Caravaggio | Magdalene Grieving, 1605-1606 (detail)

Maddalena in pianto (1605-1606), riconosciuta solo recentemente dalla  critica come opera da inserire nel corpus delle tele dipinte da Michelangelo Merisi detto Caravaggio🎨, risulta correlata as una delle più celebri opere del maestro lombardo, la "Morte della Vergine" (1601-1605), conservata al Louvre.
Secondo alcune ricerche, infatti, la “Maddalena in pianto” sarebbe uno studio preliminare per il personaggio della pala del Louvre.
La tela, oggi custodita in collezione privata, è probabilmente identificabile con quella citata nell'inventario Tomassini del 1674.

Caravaggio | The Death of the Virgin, 1601-1606 (detail)
Caravaggio | The Death of the Virgin, 1601-1606 (detail)

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