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Book Review

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Scholarship has often explained Mary Magdalene’s great popularity in the Renaissance in terms of her flexible iconography and her ability to address diverse audiences. One of the many strengths of this publication is that Jolly focuses on roles for the Magdalene yet to be explored. Her novel approach offers a deeper understanding of Magdalene images, including a detailed examination of dress. The organization of the book also contributes to its overall effectiveness. In each chapter, Jolly considers a single painting or a group of related paintings in depth. The author also rightly points out that northern Magdalene images have not received nearly the attention that they deserve and sets out to correct that situation. Additionally, through the examination of Magdalene imagery, Jolly taps into engaging current topics including the production of works for the open market, the body and sexuality, the meaning of dress, and performative viewing (audience reception).


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