The story of the conversion of the Magdalen represented here is not told in the Gospels, but is implied by her actions towards Christ. The work is based on a lost fresco by Federico Zuccaro formerly in the Grimani chapel in S. Francesco della Vigna, Venice, and datable to the early 1560s. The composition was modified to incorporate portraits, presumably of members of Grimani's family. The painting was mentioned in Grimani's will.
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