A poster child for penance is Mary Magdalene’s most successful look, however, was that of the paradigm of penitence. Any starlet can rock gowns and accessories, but it takes a very special lady to make repentance look good. Pope Saint Gregory the Great saw her great potential to show the beautiful side of penitence when in 591 he conflated her with the adulterous woman and the woman saved from seven demons.
Who else could show the world that saying you’re sorry is empowering and beautifying? We all love the Penitent Magdalene. Here depicted as a siren whose evident beauty is now for God alone, a woman whose beautiful bone structure remains visible despite her emaciated form painted in a pop surrealist style, and whose powerful blue gaze emanates a glowing life and energy. Here a contemplative Magdalene learning about the Lord who has cast all her worldly possessions that only brought her emptiness in her life.
According to Ross King, an expert on Italian art, Mary Magdalene's appearance at the last supper would not have been controversial and Leonardo would have had no motive to disguise her as one of the other disciples, since she was widely venerated in her role as the Apostle to the Apostles.