Albert Edelfelt


Oil on canvas glued on cardboard.

41,0 cm x 31,0 cm.

Albert Edelfelt (1854–1905) based his painting Magdalena (1891) on the poem “Mataleena’s Journey Across the Waters” from The Kanteletar, which had also been the inspiration for the artist’s large-scale painting Christ and Mary Magdalene from 1890. One year later, Edelfelt was commissioned to make this close-up study of Magdalene’s face, in which he focused on portraying her heartbroken expression. The model was a servant of Edelfelt’s, who had recently lost her husband to drowning. To achieve the right look of desolation, the artist would discuss the model’s late husband with her. The painting is done with stylised, broad brushstrokes in coordinated shades of brown, yellow and green.