Mary Magdalene in Meditation
Sisto Badalocchio (1581/85-after 1621)
1615, Oil on copper
Mary Magdalene lies on the ground in adoration of the crucified Christ, who is depicted before her with pronounced foreshortening. She holds her long blond hair in her left hand, covering her breast, while her long white robe has fallen from her shoulders and the drapery rests in her lap. Both her robe and her pale, snow-white skin stand out in strong contrast against the dark background, and a hedge and two trees can be glimpsed in the left-hand corner of the painting, standing out against a blue sky. Her arm rests on a skull at her side (one of the two elements that normally indicate Mary Magdalene iconographically, together with the ointment jar, which has been omitted in this case), opposite the crucifix. This small, refined painting, painted on copper, is the work of Sisto Badalocchio, a painter from Parma who was born at the end of the 16th century and entered the circle of Annibale Carracci after moving to Rome, working with him on the decoration of the Galleria di Palazzo Farnese.