Monday, May 17, 2010

About "The Madgalen Reading" by Rogier van der Weyden, Part One

I am delighted to celebrate the inauguration of my blog with some personal observations about Rogier van der Weyden's "The Magdalene Reading."

Initially, I ran across a reproduction of this painting in a large frame warehouse several years ago.

Mary was hiding between two cardboard protectors in a rack of unframed art prints just waiting for me to discover her.

I immediately gasped when I did.

What was it about this Northern Renaissance Mary that drew me to her?

It certainly was not the quality of the print itself.

Mary's dress was tattered and torn in several places.
The once brightly hued colors of her gown and face had long ago succumbed to the distresses of light contamination.

As with all of us mortals, Mary had grown tired and more than a little weary over time.

For me, none of this mattered.

I stood in the racks staring at her entrancing image for several minutes.

Then I looked at the clock on the wall.

The frame shop was about to close its doors for the day.

I had a decision to make.

I could decide to place this Magdalene safely back between her cardboard protectors for future admirers to examine or. . . . . . .

I could decide to purchase her for the grand sum of $18.

Minutes later, I carefully laid Mary on the back seat of my car.

Fragile as she was, Rogier's Mary had captured my heart.

Where would she lead me from that moment on?

Credits: The image is from at Magdalen Reading.


  1. Cliff hanger! Dying to know the rest of the story.

  2. It really is a beautiful painting...She looks entranced by whatever it is she's reading - maybe even a little forlorn...Her dress is amazing...Rogier made it so lifelike. I'm excited to see what other paintings you post!!