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The Temptation of the Magdalene

A work made of oil on panel.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on panel.


c. 1616/17


Jacob Jordaens (Flemish, 1593-1678)

About this artwork

In this half-length biblical painting, an aged woman offering tempting jewels—possibly the proprietor of a brothel—and an angel bestowing spiritual guidance battle for the soul of Mary Magdalene. A ghoulish demon emerges from the shadows in the background with a fistful of snakes, a menacing symbol of evil. Jacob Jordaens had already developed his own rich realism, with earthy figures and naturalistic shadows, by the time he executed this early work, probably for an upper-class home in his native Antwerp.


On View, Gallery 208


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Jacob Jordaens


The Temptation of the Magdalene


Flanders (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on panel


126.2 × 96.8 cm (49 11/16 × 38 1/4 in.); Framed: 155.6 × 130.2 × 12.7 cm (61 1/4 × 51 1/4 × 5 in.)

Credit Line

Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection; anonymous gift in honor of Kate and Morris Kaplan

Reference Number


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