This anonymous master is named after a series of half-length depictions of the Magdalen; to the same artist have been atttributed other depictions of elegantly dressed women variously engaged in reading, writing or playing music, often against dark backgrounds. His oeuvre reveals a style typical of the Antwerp studios of the first half of the sixteenth century. Friedländer pronounced him as one of the most successful and popular artists working in this milieu (M.J. Friedländer, Early Netherlandish Painting, XII, 1975, p. 18).
This composition is comparable with two other works by the Master in which the Magdalen is shown holding her vase of ointment against a dark background: the picture last recorded in the Schevitch collection, sale, Paris, 1906, no. 7, and the Magdalen in the collection of Prince Salm-Salm at Schloss Anholt (see ibid., p. 98, nos. 82-3, pl. 41).