Artworks
The Magdalen with the Smoking Flame
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kgirton's picture

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Guess which Disney Princess hid Magdalen with the Smoking Flame in her treasure trove!

Someone obviously needed some alone time to contemplate her “to be or not to be,” though it’s highly unlikely that it’s poor Yorick’s. The skull represents a play on words, representing Golgotha, the place of crucifixion as well as the Aramaic word for skull. This theatrical portrayal of Mary Magdalen by Georges de La Tour is his most famous and shouldn't be confused with his similar painting in the Louvre.

During this time period in European art, Catholic countries were prolific in their images of Magdalen. They were trying to portray that even a “whore” can repent and find God, and peace, and religion, etc etc. Most of the time she was portrayed as an younger woman (because old isn’t sexy) but La Tour decided that her shoulders and knees should be bare, which means she’s living poorly but also still sexy. It’s like our obsession with reality TV stars; Magdalen would definitely occupy a tabloid headline weekly back in the day. The Kardashian sisters wouldn't know what hit 'em!

It highly resembles La Tour’s other Magdalen work, Penitent Magdalene, but she’s a little more covered and there is a mirror instead of books. Maybe someone wanted a sexier version of Jesus’s main squeeze. Is it just me or does she look a little round in the belly area? Pregnant maybe? Just another church cover up if you ask Dan Brown.

La Tour flatters Magdalen in a way many artists wouldn’t. Surrounding her with symbolic elements and all that jazz. But really he’s trying to say is “We are all sinners!”

For Disney lovers or haters, Ariel the Little Mermaid, has this painting in her treasure trove under da sea! Maybe Mary Magdalen, like Ariel, is just pondering if fire burns, or maybe one of the background artists was a religious nut and thought Ariel was just some watery tart, if you know what I mean.