Mary Magdalen

WAG 958


Although a contemporary of Rembrandt's, Bor favoured a different painting style. His work is characterised by a combination of dramatic lighting effects and classical formalism. Bor was influenced by the work of Caravaggio, which he saw during his stay in Rome in the 1620s. The figure is thought to represent Mary Magdalen and may be a portrait of the artist's wealthy wife Aleijda van Crachtwijk, whom he married in August 1632. Mary Magdalene is an important figure in the Bible and was one of Jesus’s closest followers. Here she is identified by the small flask she is holding. She used this to anoint Jesus’s feet with costly ointment. Mary Magdalene is often shown as a reformed woman with a sinful past. She is sometimes described as a sex worker although there is no evidence of this in the Bible.