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Drawing - Maria Madalena at the house of the Pharisee
  • Maria Madalena at the house of the Pharisee
    Solomon, Simeon, born 1840 - died 1905
  • Enlarge image

Maria Madalena at the house of the Pharisee

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Britain (drawn)

  • Date:

    1895 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Solomon, Simeon, born 1840 - died 1905 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case PD, shelf 149, box A

This drawing is dated 1895, by which time Solomon had long since retreated from public life. He mastered the style and mythological imagery of later Pre-Raphaelitism, but was distinguished by his especial interest in Old Testament subjects, partly on account of his Jewish heritage. This particular drawing, however, shows an incident from the Gospel of St. Luke, where a repentant woman, often understood as St. Mary Magdalen, seeks out Christ at the house of a Pharisee. There she washed Christ's feet with her tears and her hair, which Solomon here emphasises, letting it flow across almost the entire picture space.

Physical description

A drawing in pencil with touches of black chalk, showing the head of Mary Magdalene in profile, looking upwards and rightwards, amidst an expanse of flowing hair. The effective title has been inscribed in pencil above and below.

Place of Origin

Britain (drawn)


1895 (made)


Solomon, Simeon, born 1840 - died 1905 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed in a circumscribed rectangular field across the top the sheet

In a circumscribed rectngular field across the bottom of the sheet

In the bottom right hand corner of the image


Height: 16.25 in measurement on label, Width: 12.75 in measurement on label

Object history note

Bequeathed by H.H. Harrod

Descriptive line

Drawing, 'Maria Madelena at the house of the Pharisee', by Simeon Solomon; Pencil and black chalk, 1895

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

The following excerpts are taken from the GLBTQ Archive Encyclopedia, © 2015, glbtq, Inc.:

"Associated with the Pre-Raphaelites and the Aesthetic Movement of the late 19th century, Simeon Solomon lived a life marked by both stunning success and unfortunate tragedy. Significant in LGBTQ culture for living openly as a gay man in the Victorian period, at a time when it was not at all socially acceptable to do so, he wrote an important prose poem in 1870 that may be read as a defense of male-male desire. Privately published, it was entitled A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep.
Around this time, he was also creating works depicting androgynous male figures who are representative of homoerotic love. The opening of the Dudley Gallery in London in 1865 allowed Solomon and other artists to exhibit works with more daring subjects than those accepted at the Royal Academy.
During these years Solomon created such works of homoerotic content as 'Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytelene' (1864), 'Love among the School Boys' (1866), 'The Bride and Bridegroom' (1866), 'Sad Love' (1866), 'Love in Autumn' (1866), and two versions of 'Bacchus' (1866 and 1867).

Although he had earned recognition as an artist in his lifetime, Solomon's life and career deteriorated after his arrest for "buggery" in 1873. He may be seen as a victim of late 19th century English homophobia as he lived most of the remaining 32 years of his life as a social outcast and his work faded into oblivion after his death in 1905. It has only recently been re-examined".

Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design, and Department of Paintings, Accessions: 1948, Volume II, Henry Herbert Harrod Bequest, London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1957


Pencil; Black chalk


Drawing (image-making); Writing (processes)

Subjects depicted




Production Type



Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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