120px|The Magdalen Reading
The Magdalen Reading is one of three surviving fragments of a large
mid-15th century oil-on-oak altarpiece by the Netherlandish painter
Rogier van der Weyden. Completed sometime between 1435 and 1438, it has
been in the National Gallery, London since 1860. It shows a woman with
the pale skin, high cheek bones and oval eyebrows typical of the
idealised portraits of noble women of the period. The woman is
identifiable as the Magdalen from the jar of ointment placed in the
foreground, which, according to the Gospels, she used to clean Christ's
feet. The background of the painting had been overpainted with a thick
layer of brown paint. A cleaning between 1955 and 1956, which removed
the overpaint, revealed the figure standing behind the Magdalen and the
kneeling figure with bare feet protruding in front of her, with a
landscape visible through a window. The original altarpiece was a sacra
conversazione known only through a drawing, Virgin and Child with
Saints. The panel was purchased by the National Gallery, London, in
1860 from a collector in Paris. It is described by art historian Lorne
Campbell as "one of the great masterpieces of 15th-century art and
among van der Weyden's most important early works." (more...)
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Today's selected anniversaries:
English forces repelled a Scottish army at the Battle of the Standard
near Northallerton in Yorkshire.
A slave rebellion erupted in the French colony of Saint-Domingue,
starting the Haitian Revolution.
The yacht America won the first America's Cup race near the Isle of
The Red Cross movement led by Henry Dunant officially began when
twelve European nations signed the First Geneva Convention,
establishing the International Committee of the Red Cross.
World War II: Wehrmacht infantry carried out an assault operation
against the civilian residents of nine villages located in the Amari
Valley on the Greek island of Crete.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
A perfect copy or replica
Wikiquote quote of the day:
A gram of experience is worth a ton of theory.
--Robert Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
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