The woman’s delicate fingers grasp a jar of ointment, identifying her as the Magdalen. Puligo plays with the conventions of sacred and secular imagery, offering us a “portrait” of the saint. She is the very embodiment of female beauty, and is shown much as a real sitter would have been, but idealized. The result conveys the saint’s character, as a portrait should, but is inappropriate as an object for prayer. The style is refined and elegant, the colours striking; gold leaf catches the light, enriching the work.
Materialsoil and mordant gilding on wood, transferred to canvas
91.5 x 68.5 cm