• The Magdalen Reading
  • The Magdalen Reading
  • The Magdalen Reading
  • The Magdalen Reading - 1
  • The Magdalen Reading - 2
  • The Magdalen Reading - 3

The Magdalen Reading

after 1791
Object type
90,7 x 144,7 cm
The Palace on the Isle - Picture Gallery, ground floor
Marks and inscriptions
red number 1991 of the Stanisław August collection, top left
Place of Origin
Warsaw (Poland, Mazowieckie)
The Royal Łazienki
Museum number
ŁKr 812
More parametrów obiektu

Bacciarelli’s composition indeed alludes to The Magdalen Reading by Antonio Allegri, known as Correggio—one of the most famous masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance. This is not a repetition, however, but a strongly altered and enlarged variant. …

Bacciarelli’s Reading Magdalen differs significantly from Correggio’s famous composition and its copies. The recumbent saint is depicted hip height and not full length, in reverse (facing right) and the background is different: on the left the arched entrance to a cave opens out onto a distant mountainous landscape. Bacciarelli did repeat, after Correggio, Magdalen’s natural pose of holding a book which gives the scene an ‘intimate’ human dimension: we appear to be looking more at a young woman reading a book than at a saint … . The size of the Łazienki composition differs significantly from Correggio’s—Bacciarelli transformed the small cabinet picture into a large format painting, thus giving it a totally different character. [See D. Juszczak, H. Małachowicz, The Stanisław August Collection of Paintings at the Royal Łazienki. Catalogue, Royal Łazienki Museum, Warsaw 2016, no. 6, pp. 64–66.]

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