Penitent Magdalen

Penitent Magdalen
Oil painting on canvas
Giuseppe Sandri
Second half of the 19th century
cm. 105 x 75


The copy of an original Guido Reni done by Giuseppe Sandri for Cardinal Gaetano Bedini, bishop of Viterbo.
In the foreground a female figure identified as the penitent Magdalen while in the upper right there are two angels.
The scene takes place at sunset in a rocky landscape in the countryside. The Magdalen is dressed in white and covered with a long, grey cape. Her head leans on the right hand and is encircled by a thin golden halo through which the rocky wall behind her can be seen.
The long chestnut hair falls softly onto her shoulders and she reaches out her left arm to touch a skull, a traditional attribute of the penitent saint. Her feet are crossed, legs lightly extended giving dynamism to the figure even if seated and apparently still. The saint has an absent look and is surrounded by various objects set on the rock such as vegetables and two books next to the skull and cross. The angels come down to the saint and one of them opens his arms to accept the penitent’s prayers. The first angel with a green veil is sustained by the second one with half closed eyes. Behind them in the distance we see a tree without leaves and the sunset.

The inscription on the retro reads:

“Bolognese Giuseppe Sandri did this commission for S.E. Monsignor G. Bedini Commission Pontificia Straordinaria for the Legations and Prolegato of the Province of Bologna”



– F. Pietrini, I vescovi e la diocesi di Viterbo,Viterbo 1948, pp. 107-108.
– Archivio Diocesano di Viterbo, Inventario del capitolo e della mensa vescovile, Viterbo 1865.
– Archivio Diocesano di Viterbo, Inventario dei mobili esistenti nei palazzi vescovili di Viterbo,Toscanella e Palanzana, Cancelleria vescovile di Viterbo 1866, n 232. prot. gen.


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