Studies For Saint Mary Magdalene
Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519)
Leonardo da Vinci was a tireless draughtsman for whom drawing was an essential means of developing compositional ideas. In these two sketches he explored the ambitiously twisted half-length figure of Mary Magdalene in preparation for a devotional painting, a project otherwise only documented in works by his followers. Starting with the larger version he rapidly added the more summary drawing below. There the saint gazes directly at the viewer whilst lifting the lid of a jar of oil. This attribute refers to her anointing of Christ’s feet.