(b. ca. 1459, Firenze, d. 1537, Firenze)

An Angel Brings the Holy Communion to Mary Magdalen

about 1510
Tempera on wood, 51 x 38 cm
Christian Museum, Esztergom

According to the legend, after the ascension of Christ, Mary Magdalen came to France in a boat with miraculous help, together with her brother and sister and a few other pious people. Here she lived in seclusion for thirty years. To this lonely pilgrim an angel brought the Host and seven times a day angels took her up to heaven. These two events in the life of the Saint are often linked together by painters as in the portrayal by the young Antonio Pollaiolo, whose altarpiece in the church at Staggia was the model for Credi's panel.

This painting is a fine example of Lorenzo's late period. By this time the art of Credi is a conservative phenomenon in Florence, and his works were often characterized by the mechanical employment of often repeated stereotypes. The light and softly formed figures of this panel, however, already suggest something of the atmosphere of the High Renaissance.