The Conversion of Mary Magdalene

WAG 1995.371


This drawing depicts the occasion when Mary Magdalene knelt in recognition before Christ to remonstrate with him over the death of her brother Lazarus whilst her sister Martha acknowledged Christ as the Messiah. The drawing is a composite one in which Rubens added figures in a triangular section running from the top left corner to the seated woman holding her child, in the centre foreground, to complete a composition originally by Federico Zuccaro. The figures completed by Rubens -- the seated Christ's raised right arm and lower body, four female figures in the left foreground below Christ -- appear more complete, with more media used to add shadows and highlights, thus creating a more depth, liveliness and details than the figures [crowds gathered behind Mary and Martha as witnesses] in the other half section drawn by Zuccaro, thereby resulting in a visually disunified drawing.