These erotic depictions, coupled with the records of Cagnacci’s personal life (which include trying to run away with a rich widow and having a cross-dressing female assistant), have earned him a reputation as an artist of unparalleled daring and seduction.
'The Repentant Magdalene' is widely regarded as Cagnacci’s masterpiece. Full of drama and sensuality, it depicts Mary Magdalene rejecting her life of sin and excess in favour of following Christ. Cagnacci’s treatment of the subject is unique; he lavishes unprecedented attention on her glittering costume, shoes and jewellery, as well as on her naked body. This painting is like no other representation of the Magdalene.
Cagnacci’s paintings are not represented in any UK public collection, and 'The Repentant Magdalene' has not been seen in this country for over thirty years. An exceptional loan from the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena (California), this display of the painting offers visitors a unique opportunity to discover this artist’s astonishing naturalism and sensuality at first hand.
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