Jan van Scorel was a well-traveled man. He visited Dürer in Nuremberg, his early work is influenced by this artist. He spent several years in Italy and was for a while, under the Dutch pope Adrian VI, the keeper of the Cortile del Belvedere, where the popes kept their collection of antiques, and he made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He is often credited with having introduced the Italian style of painting to the Netherlands.

He painted this interesting, portrait-like Mary Magdalene after his return to the Netherlands, around 1530. It was long in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which has an informative description page, and was transferred to the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem in 2004.

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