The text for this painting is taken from The Gospel according to St. John, XX, 1 and 2: "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, The have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him."
Calderon was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy from 1853 until 1897. A prolific artist, he sent no less than one hundred and four picutres to the annual exhibition, many of which drew inspriation from scenes from the Bible. His works were widely collected and he was honored as a Keeper of the Royal Academy in 1887. Calderon was known as one of the leaders of the St. John's Wood Clique which included fellow artists John Evan Hodgson, George Dunlop Leslie, Henry Stacy Marks, George Adolphus Storey, Fred Walker, William Frederick Yeames (see lot 352) and David Wilkie Wynfield. This fraternity of artist's lived together in what they termed "The Grove of the Evangelist." Mary Magdalene's Revelation shows a marked Pre-Raphaelite influence and is a prime example of Calderon's ability to translate literary text into pictorial imagry which could be readily understood by his audience.