Milan, ca. 1607-1678
The Assumption of Mary Magdalene, 1630s
Oil on canvas.
According to The Golden Legend, a famous late medieval compilation of the saints’ lives, the Magdalene spent her last three decades in solitary retreat atop a mountain near Sainte-Beaume, in Provence, (near Marseille, France). Seven times a day, angels carried her aloft to heaven, where she glimpsed her coming reward. The representation of this ecstatic scene emerged during the Counter-Reformation and became frequent in Baroque art. The bold pattern and pronounced foreshortening of this interpretation indicate that it was originally placed above an altar. The painting’s strained feeling and types are closely related to the work of Cerano, while the flowing rhythms and rich execution depend upon another Milanese contemporary, Giulio Cesare Procaccini. Recently, its author has been identified as Riccardo Taurini, admitted at the time but survived by only a handful of documented works.