Adulterous, immoral and unchaste women abound in Christian art. There are two reasons for this: to warn the beholder to stay on the straight and narrow (Christian) path, and to demonstrate that indecent behaviour is always forgiven in the Christian doctrine. In both cases, the message is that whosoever believes in Christ will be redeemed. Artists found numerous examples of immoral women in the Bible, such as Lot’s licentious daughters, the adulterous Bathsheba and the prostitute Mary Magdalene, who was a faithful follower of Christ.
In medieval hagiography (stories of the lives of the saints), prostitution is also vanquished by the Christian faith. In 17th-century painting, alongside biblical examples, new motifs were introduced - often in a hidden and humorous manner - to instruct the viewer about morality and improper conduct. In 19th-century art prostitutes no longer function as a warning, but rather as part of reality.
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