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270

Attributed to Jean-Baptiste Santerre

The Penitent Magdalene

Attributed to Jean-Baptiste Santerre

Attributed to Jean-Baptiste Santerre

The Penitent Magdalene

The Penitent Magdalene

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Attributed to Jean-Baptiste Santerre

Magny-en-Vexin, Val-d'Oise 1651 - 1717 Paris

The Penitent Magdalene


oil on canvas, unframed

canvas: 39 by 40 in.; 99 by 101.5 cm.

The canvas has an old glue relining and remains stable. There is some active flaking of the paint layer on the bottom and right edges of the canvas, and some older losses left untouched in the center of the bottom edge and in the top right edge. The varnish has yellowed and dirtied over time, and appears somewhat uneven, with drips evident along the right side and evidence of some selective cleaning or varnishing around the figure. There are scattered areas of old restoration that are visible with the naked eye, mostly in the background and a few areas in the skull. Ultra violet light does not reveal further restorations, and it is clear the painting has not been restored in some time. Offered unframed.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

C. Lesné and F. Waro, Jean Baptiste Santerre 1651-1717, Magny-en-Vexin 2011, pp. 89-92, reproduced p. 89 (as location unknown). 
Santerre first painted a version of the composition for a private individual but it caught the eye of Louis XIV and the King instead acquired it for his cabinet at Versailles; in 1876 that painting was returned to the cathedral in Magny-en-Vexin, the artist's birthplace, where it remains.1  Though almost identical to the present work, that painting's composition is a more horizontal format, with the bottom edge of the table cut off and less space in the background above the Magdalene's head.  In 1712, Santerre received 200 livres to extend that painting into a larger composition, perhaps reflecting the more square version we see here.  Indeed a second version of the composition, perhaps completed for the original patron, was thought to be lost and known only through an old photograph in the Louvre's archives, but is almost certainly the present work.

The contrast of the Magdalene's soft gray hair with the warm red tones of her cloak was a technique employed by Santerre more than once, perhaps most famously in his sensual Susanna at her bath, now in the Louvre.2

We are grateful to Claude Lesné for his assistance with the cataloguing of this lot. 



1. See Lesné and Waro, under Literature, reproduced p. 88. 
2. Ibid, pp. 89-92.
3. See https://collections.louvre.fr/en/ark:/53355/cl010062555