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Mary Magdalen

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Opulently adorned and bejeweled, Mary Magdalene is depicted here before she took her oaths of poverty and chastity. Gossaert, sometimes called Mabuse after the town where he was born, was perhaps the first artist to translate the ideals of the Italian Renaissance into a northern aesthetic. He...

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Lucien Félix Claude-Lafontaine (b. 1840 -d. 1909), Paris; March 14, 1918, sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, lot 3, possibly unsold or re-purchased, and remained within the family [see note 1]; April 11, 1962, Claude-Lafontaine sale, Palais Galliera, Paris, lot 8, to Rosenberg and Stiebel, New York; April 19, 1963, sold by Rosenberg and Stiebel to William A. Coolidge (b. 1901 - d. 1992), Topsfield and Cambridge, MA; 1991, gift of Coolidge to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 25, 1991) NOTES: [1] According to a letter from Claude-Lafontaine's grandson, Olivier Bès de Berc, to Perry Rathbone of the MFA (September 21, 1963), after Claude-Lafontaine's death in 1909, his collection was divided among his heirs. Some of these objects (including this painting) were included in the auction of the of G[authier] V[illars] collection, Paris, on March 14, 1918. Because in 1962 this painting was auctioned again by the family, it may have gone unsold or was re-purchased in 1918. It appears in the auction catalogue as a portrait of a woman, attributed to Bernard van Orley, with an annotated sale price of 11,000 fr.

Credit Line

Gift of William A. Coolidge

about 1525–30


49.53 x 39.37 cm (19 1/2 x 15 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on panel