Mary Magdalen and the Imagery of Redemption: Reception and Revival in Fifteenth-Century Tyrol
Joanne W. Anderson
In 1384 a host miracle occurred in the Alpine church of Sankt Oswald in Seefeld. The perpetrator was publically humiliated and forced to repent for his sins, but the legend of his affront was to have lasting legacy in the visual culture of the church. While certain artworks have received critical attention for their retranslation of events, a fifteenth-century mural cycle depicting the life of Mary Magdalen, Christianity’s most perfect penitent, in the choir has been overlooked. This article analyses the cycle’s reception of local history and the importance of the Trecento visual strategies revived for particular effect. In doing so, it accords the seemingly archaic paintings an active role in the framing of the miracle for patron, parish and pilgrims attracted by the power of divine transformation and the promise of redemption.