Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy
Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy was presented as a token of goodwill and a symbol of the enduring friendship between the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom in this Year of Tolerance, 2019

Today, the painting Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy, by Ary Scheffer painted in 1856 and from the Lubin Family Private Collection is being presented by His Excellency Patrick Moody, British Ambassador to The United Arab Emirates, Representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the British Government and the Lubin Family and Five Islands Capital Limited of London, to Dr. Hamed Bin Mohamed Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Arts Society, as a Loan  in Perpetuity to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.


It is being presented as a token of goodwill and a symbol of the enduring friendship between the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom in this Year of Tolerance, 2019.

It is a gift in return for the kindness and welcome made by new friends in the UAE to the Lubin Family and their associates.

Dr. Hamed Bin Mohamed Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Arts Society, said: “From the Capital of Tolerance, We are truly honored and humbled to receive such a significant gift from the Lubin Family on behalf of the United Kingdom. I believe literary and cultural partnerships are crucial to building bridges of understanding between peoples from around the world. This exceptional piece by a master artist of his era serves as a testament to the friendship between our countries and furthers our understanding of European historical subjects and beliefs. It can also act as an agent of soft diplomacy and makes this world a better place.”

And added: “On behalf of the Blessed Emirate of Abu Dhabi & its People, we extend our sincerest gratitude to Alan Lubin, the FinTech Company Five Islands Capital and the United Kingdom for this magnificent gift. This is a truly valuable demonstration of our cultural affinity and of the respect for eternal human values that both our countries emphasize and deliver. This endowment embodies the true spirit of generosity and togetherness in the Year of Tolerance.”

And added: “We in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi are very grateful that Alan Lubin, the FinTech company Five islands and the United Kingdom have chosen to gift us this magnificent, historical gift, that we will surely cherish” 


His Excellency Patrick Moody, British Ambassador to United Arab Emirates, said: “I am delighted at this wonderful and generous loan from the Lubin family to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  It symbolises both our rich history of cultural exchange and the bright future of UK companies engaging with the UAE on FinTech.”

Nicholas Lubin, Dexapoint DWC-LLC, said: “As a symbol of my family’s deep appreciation and as a token of goodwill and enduring friendship between the UAE and the United Kingdom, it is with a great pleasure and with immense gratification that we present “The Magdalene” as a Loan in Perpetuity to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.”

Richard S. Oliver, OBE, said: “We are proud as a British company with deep roots to be pioneering market-leading technology in three continents. As so often before, the UAE has positioned itself as the Regional Leader in this field. Blockchain is FinTech’s Internet moment and it will soon be as much a part of our global and security infrastructure as Buckingham Palace is part of London.”

The Master Artist, Ary Scheffer (10 February 1795 – 15 June 1858) was born in Dordrecht, Holland. He moved with his brothers and widowed mother to Paris as a young boy. He became a “Romantics” painter, and was a member of the influential Salon de Paris. He was known mostly for his works based on literature, with paintings based on the works of Dante, Goethe, and Lord Byron, as well as Biblical subjects. He was also a prolific painter of portraits of famous and influential people in his lifetime. Politically, Scheffer had strong ties to King Louis Philippe I, having been employed as a teacher of the latter’s children, which allowed him to live a life of luxury for many years until the French Revolution of 1848.

Scheffer often painted subjects from literature, and two versions of Dante and Beatrice have been preserved at Wolverhampton Art Gallery in the United Kingdom, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in the United States. Particularly highly praised was his Francesca da Rimini, painted in 1836, which illustrates a scene from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno.

Scheffer was also an accomplished portrait painter, finishing 500 portraits in total. His subjects included composers Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt, the Marquis de la Fayette, Pierre-Jean de Béranger, Alphonse de Lamartine, Charles Dickens, The Duchesse de Broglie, Talleyrand and Queen Marie Amélie.

Scheffer has works displayed in most of the world’s major art galleries, including The Louvre in Paris, The National Portrait Gallery in London (of which Dr Al Suwaidi is a Patron), The Palace of Versailles, Amsterdam Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Wallace Collection in London, the National Museum of Western Art Tokyo, Manchester, The Rijksmseum Muzeum  Narodowe in Warsaw, Yale University, The Smithsonian and many others.

In the last decade of his life, Scheffer painted a number of  paintings with a religious theme most notably the Saints Augustine and Monica (National Portrait Gallery, London), The Return of the Prodigal Son (The Wallace Collection, London), Mary Magdalene at the Foot of the Cross (Amsterdam Museum), Margaret at the Fountain (The Wallace Collection, London) and Christ Weeping over Jerusalem (The V & A, London).

This painting Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy was one of these most famous paintings, painted in 1856. It comes from the Lubin Family Private Collection.

Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy – a brief history.

Mary was painted in 1856, and exhibited in the “Gems of the Art Treasures” Exhibition in Manchester in the United Kingdom in 1857.

It was privately purchased and kept in private collections until it appeared again in 1911, when it was auctioned at Christies Auction Rooms in London, for 100 guineas which was considered a fortune.

The painting disappeared again until 1978, when it was acquired by the Lubin Family Private Collection in London. It has remained in their collection until today.

The painting was sent to the Scheffer Museum in Dordrecht, Holland to be cleaned by their craftsmen. The curators of the museum explained that this was the missing painting for which no historical records existed following the Manchester Exhibition. The only evidence of the painting in 1857 was an illustration in the Manchester Exhibition programme, and an engraving made at the time, currently in the Getty Collection in Los Angeles.

The Dordrecht Museum explained that the model Scheffer would have used in many of his paintings was Adelaide Ristori (29 January 1822 – 9 October 1906) who was a distinguished Italian tragedienne, and often referred to as the “Marquise”. She was considered a sensation and there are records of riots wherever she appeared. Her last professional engagement was in Shakespeare in New York in 1904.

There is a major thoroughfare named after her in Genoa, Italy.

Ary Scheffer was an important Master, and his paintings are enjoyed by many millions of art lovers and admirers throughout the world. We hope and trust that this painting will bring pleasure to all that view her, and perhaps an understanding and connection to a period when such paintings were extremely fashionable and popular – and brought European art lovers some comfort and faith.