The Repentant St Mary Magdalene, 1621, Domenico Feti. Italian, (1589 -1624).
Oil on canvas, Galleria Doria-Pamphili, Rome.
The image of this repentant sinner, prototype of the penitent in Christian art, became one of the favourite subjects of European art in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Feti represents the subject with an intensely melancholic significance, equivalent to ‘tristitia’. Feti conceived this theme in terms of a Meditation or Melancholy.
Feti’s most characteristic works are of religious themes turned into genre scenes of contemporary life. They are broadly painted, with characteristic ‘windswept’ brushstrokes.