On Good Friday 2012, the day when Christians commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross, a monumental work by the renowned French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) was shown for the first time at Simonis & Buunk Fine Art, Ede. ‘Le Christ et la Madeleine’, depicting the crucified Christ clasped in the arms of a consoling Mary Magdalene, has never previously been shown to the Dutch public. Certain prominent theologians and clergymen were invited to describe the mystery of the sculpture. (See pdf “Rodindinner")
‘Le Christ et la Madeleine’ is the only surviving sculpture of Christ in Rodin’s oeuvre. The representation is moving: Mary Magdalene, with her head bowed over the heart of a crucified and exhausted Christ. The manner in which the entwined figures have been partly hewn out of the marble block adds emphasis to the dramatic moment. The entire tragedy of condemnation, suffering, crucifixion and then comes together in this one majestic work. On the one hand, the sensually rendered body of Mary Magdalene by Rodin leads away from the heavy and tragic subject matter.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid
There are two examples of ‘Le Christ et la Madeleine’ made in marble, the first of which was commissioned by the steel magnate and art collector August Thyssen (1842-1926). This slightly smaller version is now in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Baron Thyssen developed a friendship with Auguste Rodin, which led in 1905 to a commission for a series of seven marble sculptures, all of which can be seen in the museum. ‘Le Christ et la Madeleine’ is the only work of the series which at Thyssen’s request following his death was placed at the head of his coffin.
‘Le Christ et la Madeleine’ was sold on 11 March 2013 in cooperation with Pieter Hoogendijk, Naarden.