15th century
Oil on wood
Cathedral of Notre Dame, Le Puy, France

This image plays a remarkable variation on the iconography of St. Mary Magdalene. There is a long tradition of showing her at prayer, in her contemplative life after the Resurrection, with a book and a crucifix. But here she has the book and the actual body that crucifixes represent. Unlike the extravagantly grieving Magdalene of most Lamentation scenes, she is deep in meditation.

The oil jar in her hand is her attribute, although few could mistake the figure for anyone but the Magdalene.

Read more about St. Mary Magdalene and about the Pietà.

Photographed at the cathedral by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.