“Reading Mary Magdalene”, Pierrot di Cosimo – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Reading Mary Magdalene – Piero di Cosimo. Around 1500-1510. Wood, oil. 72 x 53 cm

Reading Mary Magdalene is a painting by Pierrot di Cosimo, painted between 1500-1510 for a personal collection, and was never sold during the author’s lifetime. It is not a painting to order, but after the death of the author, the work passed from hand to hand. Who owned the painting until 1895 is not possible. After it was bought by the National Museum of Rome, and in 2002 the painting passed under the auspices of the National Gallery of Ancient Art.

History of creation

Pierrot began work on the painting in 1500. At the same time, it was just the writing of the face that took him only two months. Each time he asked the girl to pose for him personally, but he only watched her face, trying to convey every wrinkle in the picture. The girl was selected specially, since it was precisely the divine forms that were needed, which could only be found in sunny Italy.

After, Pierrot di Cosimo drew the rest of the work. Nobody rushed the master, and he completed the rest of the details in peace of mind, simultaneously doing other work. Each detail was drawn and detailed depending on what exactly the artist wanted to show with it.

Writing style

The painting is in the form of a portrait, but there are obvious signs of a still life on it. The book deserves special attention, because if you enlarge the text, you can distinguish real words written by Cosimo. The artist never revealed what exactly he wrote in that part of the picture.

The work was written in two stages. First, a face was drawn, after which shadows were applied over it by applying light black shades. The black color was draped with ink, so that even in natural light the blackness still looked natural."

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