Noli me tangere

Ippolito Scarsella, detto Scarsellino

Ferrara, c. 1550 – 1620


Oil on canvas, 221 x 134cm

This is one of Scarsellino’s most successful paintings. It decorated the Riminaldi family altar in the church of San Nicolò until the first decade of the seventeenth century. The subject of the canvas―the moment when the resurrected Christ addresses Mary Magdalene with the words “do not touch me” (John 20:17) ―is approached by Scarsellino with a two-life-sized figure composition, which had been developed by the best Emilian and Venetian painters (Annibale Carracci, Titian and Jacopo Bassano). Here, the outcome is decidedly Venetian: colour structures the elliptical arrangement stretching out into the distant landscape flooded with light. The altarpiece was removed from the chapel by its owners at the time of anti-clerical feeling in Europe at the start of the nineteenth century. It was then bought from the heirs in 1985 by the Ministry of Culture for the Pinacoteca.