Monday, October 09, 2006

Église de la Madeleine

Looking north from the Place de la Concorde, past this fountain, you can see the church dedicated to Mary Magdalene, at the end of rue Royale. Louis XVI was beheaded with the guillotine just near here in the square.

The Neo-Classical Église de la Madeleine is affectionately called "La Madeleine" by Parisians. There are 52 Corinthian columns around the edifice.

This statue inside is of Mary Magdalene's ascension. It was built in 1837 by Charles Marochetti.

The painted frieze shows Jesus and the disciples.

I posted about Mary Magdalene in May, just as the movie "The DaVinci Code" was being released. I mentioned this church briefly then.

Two separate plans for this church were scrapped, the first in 1776 and the second in 1790.Then Napoléon thought Paris needed a temple to his army, and commissioned it to be completed as that honorary building. However, that too was scrapped for the Arc de Triomphe instead. In 1814 Louis XVIII decided it needed to be a church, but it was almost redesigned into Paris' first train station in 1837. Since 1842 it's been a church. (Information found at

In 1969 the Catholic Church admitted quietly that there was no biblical basis for Mary Magdalene being a prostitute.

Every day except Monday there is a flower market around the church.

Edouard Leon Cortes(1882 - 1969) Flower Market at the Madeleine, Oil on canvas


Mrs. M. said...

I love this picture, the way the colors much that I googled the title and found this site:

Is this where the original is displayed?

ruth said...

Mrs. M., I confess I do not know where the original is housed! I found the painting on line by googling images of the flower market at the Madeleine and found the same site you did. I'm thinking it is at that gallery in NYC. The colors are so rich and the lighting is wonderful.

Ginnie said...

Once again, Ruth, you have captured a memory that is so meaningful (to us both!). Hmmm. You didn't mention that she is/looks pregnant in this statue. Do you still think so? We both have seen views that would attest to it.

Ruth said...

Ginnie, it's hard to say. I guess I have my doubts that a sculptor in the 19th century would have made her pregnant. But it's fun to speculate!

Rauf said...

I remember reading in daVinci code or some other book about Mary Magdalene depicted pregnant in the statue, I forget so fast.
Beautiful pictures again Ruth. The camera must be very happy to find your hands.
Not many Mary Magdalene churches in the world, perhaps none in India, never heard.
Lovely light in the painting, I'll check for more of his work

Rauf said...

Never heard of Edouard Leon Cortes
thanks Ruth.

Ruth said...

Rauf, it might be my first post about MM that you're remembering the mention of her looking pregnant in this statue. I've never found any reference to it though.

I love Cortes' painting too. Such colors. That street he painted is just in front of the Madeleine.

mystic rose said...

some of this art, i could get lost here forever.

mystic rose said...

maybe next time i could go with you ruth.

Ruth said...

Mystic, we would have so much fun.