BLEKER, Dirck Gerritsz
(b. ca. 1621, Haarlem, d. ca. 1679, Den Haag)

The Penitent Mary Magdalen

Oil on canvas, 112 x 83 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Bleker specialised in paintings of women who would appeal to his patrons. In his own days he had a formidable reputation as a painter of 'classical' female nudes. The Penitent Mary Magdalen is the only extant half-length, semi-nude female figure by Bleker. It seems surprising that Bleker's contemporaries took such an interest in his paintings of this kind and were prepared to spend so much on them.