About This Artwork

Follower of Simon Vouet
French, 1590-1649

Christ on the Cross with Mary Magdalene, 1640/50

Oil on canvas
29 5/16 x 21 7/8 in. (74.4 x 55.6 cm)
Inscribed at top of cross: INRI

Restricted gift of the Harold T. Martin Trust, 1978.423

This small painting showing the grief-stricken Saint Mary Magdalene alone at the foot of the cross was probably intended as a private devotional work. The same expressive figure of Magdalene appears in more complex treatments of the Crucifixion and the Lamentation by followers of Simon Vouet. Having worked in Rome before returning to Paris as first painter to Louis XIII in 1627, Vouet was a gifted teacher, attracting many students and collaborators to his Paris workshop. Vouet's followers Charles Poërson, Michel Dorigny, and François Perrier have all suggested as the author of this painting. Though the artist remains unidentified, his debt to Vouet's weighty figure types, active draper, and rich colors is clear.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Publication History

The Art Institute of Chicago Annual Report 1978-79 (Chicago, 1979), p. 35.

Pierre Rosenberg, La Peinture française du XVIIe siècle dans les collections américaines, exh. cat., Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, 1982, p. 375, no. 6 (ill.).

Rosenberg, “France in the Golden Age: A Postscript,” Metropolitan Museum Journal 17 (1982), p. 46.

Susan Wise and Malcolm Warner, French and British Paintings from 1600 to 1800 in The Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Collection (Chicago, 1996), pp. 114–116, ill.

J.-F. Méjanes in Musée du Louvre, Département des arts graphiques, Inventaire général des dessins, École française, vol. 13, De Pagnest à Puvis de Chavannes, ed. Catherine Legrand (Paris, 1997), p. 405, under no. 1638.

Barbara Brejon de Lavergnée, Nicole de Reyniès, and Nicolas Sainte Fare Garnot, Charles Poerson 1609-1667, exh. cat., Musées de Metz, 1997, pp. 215-8, no. 138, ill.

Ownership History

Private Collection, Zurich, to 1974 [according to letter of March 19, 1981 from Grizelda Grimond, Colnaghi to Susan Wise in curatorial file]; bought by Colnaghi, London, 1974 [according to letter cited above]; sold by Colnaghi to the Art Institute as by Michel Dorigny, 1978.

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