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This panel was most probably the right-hand wing of a diptych (a painting made up of two panels), and was probably made in Cologne in the 1530s. The location of the left-hand panel is unknown, but it most probably showed the dead Christ.
The woman at the front is the Virgin Mary, wearing her traditional blue mantle, which here has fur lining at the cuffs. The woman to her left is Mary Magdalene, identifiable by her long, loose hair. Like the holy woman wearing the cap behind her, Mary Magdalene is dressed in elaborate clothing more contemporary to the picture – her billowing sleeve is patterned with silk brocade. The man is Saint John the Evangelist, who is known as the ‘beloved disciple’ and to whom Christ, at the Crucifixion, entrusted his mother.
The Virgin, Saint John, Saint Mary Magdalene and a Holy Woman
Oil on oak
H 67.9 x W 48.3 cm
Presented by Henry Wagner, 1924