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Attributed to Gerrit Dou (Leiden 1613 - 1675), The Penitent Magdalene by candlelight

bears false signature on the leather binding of the book, GDou 16(?)...oil on panel. 13 1/4 by 10 3/4 in.; 33.6 by 27.8 cm. Estimate 40,000—60,000 USD

NOTE: This moving depiction of the penitent Magdalene by candlelight demonstrates, just as Hermit at Prayer does, the keen ability of Dou and the Leiden school of fijnschilders to capture with incredible beauty a mood of intimacy and serenity. Also, like his hermits at prayer, Dou's Magdalenes inspired a proliferation of works of this subject by the artist's followers and imitators, as seen, perhaps most successfully, in the works of his pupil Godfried Schalcken, who painted at least a half dozen versions of the subject.

The present picture relates most closely to Dou's Penitent Magadalene, now in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, NM 393.

Sotheby's. Important Old Master Paintings, Including European Works of Art. 29 Jan 09. New York www.sothebys.com photo courtesy Sotheby's