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Ferdinand Bol: The Appearance to Mary Magdalene

Ferdinand Bol 1616 – 1680

The Appearance to Mary Magdalene

pen drawing (15 × 19 cm) — ca. 1638 Museum Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Ferdinand Bol biography

This work is linked to John 20:14

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Mary Magdalene falls into despair when she finds Jesus' grave empty. She asks a man whom she believes to be the gardener what happened to the body.

The hat, spade and possibly even the gardener's relaxed pose are tricks of the trade by which the artist emphasizes Mary's despair. She only recognizes Jesus when he uses her name. In the scene that follows she is about to touch him. Jesus stops her, saying: Touch me not.

For many years the drawing was attributed to Rembrandt. Details that rule out the hand of the master include the white wall in the centre, and Jerusalem's skyline in the background. Experts maintain that Rembrandt would have added texture to the wall. In addition, the skyline was copied from one of Rembrandt's paintings, and it is known Rembrandt never used samples of his earlier work to include in new work.

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