NEWS: National Gallery to Display Guido Cagnacci’s The Repentant Magdalene

From the 15th February, the National Gallery will display what is considered to be the artist’s greatest work on loan from the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena (California).

The Repentant Magdalene, after 1660
The Repentant Magdalene, Guido Cagnacci, After 1660. (c) Norton Simon Art Foundation.

Spring 2017 will see visitors to the National Gallery being able to see Guido Cagnacci’s The Repentant Magdalene, an exceptional loan from the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena (California).

The artist’s work is unfamiliar to people in the UK because his paintings are not represented in any UK public art collections.

One of the most unconventional artists of the Italian Baroque period,Guido Cagnacci’s The Repentant Magdalene was created while the artist was living in Vienna (around 1660-61) and is not an ordinary representation of Mary Magdalene, who is usually traditionally shown holding a skull and contemplating her morality, here she lies almost naked on the ground, begged by her virtuous sister Martha to abandon her sinful life of vice and luxury.

Letizia Treves, Curator of Later Italian, Spanish, and French 17th-century Paintings said “It has long been a dream of mine to bring this painting to London – it is unquestionably Cagnacci’s masterpiece and one of the greatest Italian Baroque pictures of all time. I hope our visitors are bowled over by it, as I was when I first saw the painting in California 15 years ago.”

The Repentant Magdalene was originally in the illustrious Gonzaga collection in Mantua, Italy (by 1665) but arrived in England in 1711, entering the collection of the Duke of Portland. It remained in England for 250 years, before being bought by the American collector, Norton Simon (1907–1993) in 1981.

National Gallery Director, Dr Gabriele Finaldi said “Cagnacci is a little-known master but The Repentant Magdalene is his most important work and once seen it gets lodged in the mind. It is an unforgettable work.”

Cagnacci’s Repentant Magdalene will be on display at the National Gallery from the 15th February until the 21st May 2017. For more information visit:

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