• France, School of Troyes, ca. 1510
  • Limestone
  • Inv. 543
  • Sculpture

Saint Mary Magdalene

The attribution of this image of Saint Mary Magdalene to the Atelier of the Master of Sainte Marthe, which operated in Champagne between 1510 and 1540, is explained by its sobriety and restraint, still entirely medieval in style and spirit. Saint Mary Magdalene, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, can be identified by the flask of perfume that she carries in her right hand, whose contents she will pour over Christ’s feet. In this image, however, the Saint, traditionally represented as either sinner or penitent, is shown in a purposeful role, wrapped in a cloak which partially covers her face and dressed in sober, heavy garments in the style of the women of Campagne in the early sixteenth century.

During the first half of the sixteenth century, a new artistic centre emerged in Troyes, in the Champagne region, which preserved the Gothic tradition at a time when great works of sculpture were already succumbing to the refinements of the Renaissance. This work came from the Collection of Julien Gréau, a collector who concentrated entirely on works from this region.


Gréau Collection; Manzi Collection. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian, through Graat et Madoulé, at the Manzi sale, held at the Galerie Manzi, 15 December 1919 (lot 126)

H. 52.2 cm; W. 18.2 cm; D. 12.1 cm

Koechlin and Marquet de Vasselot 1900

Raymond Koechlin and Jean-J. Marquet de Vasselot – La Sculpture à Troyes et dans la Champagne Méridionale au Seizième Siècle : Étude sur la transition de l’Art Gothique à l’Italianisme. Paris : Armand Colin, 1900.

Jullian 1965

René Jullian – La Sculpture Gothique. Paris : H. Laurens, 1965.

Baron 1980

Françoise Baron – La Sculpture en Campagne au Moyen-Âge. Paris : Musée d’Art et Essai, 1980. Regards sur l’Ecole Troyenne de Sculpture du XVIe siècle. In La Vie en Champagne, numéro 309 spécial, 29e année, avril 1981.

Figueiredo 1992

Maria Rosa Figueiredo – A Escultura Francesa. Catálogo de Escultura Europeia. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1992, vol. I, p. 26-31.