Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen: Noli me Tangere (1507)

(Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Kassel, Germany)

One of the earliest known works from the Dutch artist Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen (1475 - 1533). The depicted scene is called "Noli me Tangere" which comes from the New Testament and discribes the event in which Mary Magdalene is the first witness of the resurrection of Christ. After the crucifixion and burial of Christ, Mary Magdalene went to visit the tomb of Christ and finds the grave empty. She sees a man standing and thinks that this man is the gardener and asks the man if he perhaps took the body of Christ away. The man turns to Mary Magdalene and Mary immdediatly recognizes the man being the resurrected Christ. Christ responses with the line "Noli me Tangere for i have not ascended to my Father". The tekst "Noli me Tangere" can be translated as "don't touch me"  (in the orginal Greek version of the tekst the line can be translated as "cease holding on to me" or "stop clinging to me"):

John 20:11-18
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb
and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus He asked her, "Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where  you have put him, and I will get him." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her.

The meaning of this text is unclear and a matter of debate. The painting shows the episode: Mary Magdalene with her jar is kneeling and crying on the left - Christ stands to the right with the text "Noli me Tangere" on his shirt. in the background are several other scenes which took place after the resurrection. Painting from 1507.

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