A first series of religious works centered
around a special event/Advent,
The little flame in this vignette provides opportunity
a return visit.
The last chapter of this program features a new presence.|
The shades of
Death oppose the light of the flame. An empty gaze replaces that of the gypsy.
The theme of the repentant Magdalene is still another subject popular in
baroque times and in keeping with the Counter Reformation mentality. To
prove our point, a short detour outside the realm of La Tour's oeuvre: at
the Galleria Doria-Pamphili in Rome, we can take a last glance at the
Italian master repeatedly mentioned on our tour.
Magdalene is portrayed with the downcast eyes of her silent repentance. Like all the other Magdalenes produced in this time of doctrinal revisionism, she incarnates as well the repentance of a church in the throes of structural and ethical upheavals. There is a certain ambiguity to the Magdalene subject, which represents the awkward merger of several figures from the Scriptures: the adulteress (John 8, 1-11); the Bethany sinner (Matt. 26, 6-13); Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus (John 12, 1-8); Mary Magdalene, witness of the Resurrection (Mk. 16, 1-20). ...
Taken from various versions of the topic portrayed by La Tour, we now present three Magdalenes, designated by the name of their respective owner prior to acquisition by the museums where they are presently on display. Each in its own right could bring our Lorrainese pilgrimage to a perfect ending. Yet, in each, La Tour suggests a different reading of the theme, so that it seems far more appropriate that you, the viewer, choose the order in which to visit these three temporary answers to Magdalene's still unanswered quandary.