July 7, 2017
Anonymous, Praying Woman, 17th century, oil on canvas, 21 5/8 x 17 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art.
Today’s Artwork of the Day is a highlight from the BYU Museum of Art’s religious collection. The penitent woman engaged in communion with God represents a popular image type of the seventeenth century: the disciple Mary Magdalene. Stories of “the Magdalene” circulated widely during this time, as she came to represent the ideal repentant sinner. Though not supported by scripture, these stories describe Mary as a fallen woman who experienced a profound conversion when she heard Christ teach.
This piece is currently on display at the BYU Museum of Art in the exhibition To Magnify the Lord: Six Centuries of Art and Devotion.