DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
(b. ca. 1255, Siena, d. 1319, Siena)

Noli me tangere (scene 25)

Tempera on wood, 51 x 57 cm
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena

The picture shows one of the 26 narrative scenes from the Stories of the Passion on the reverse side of the Maestà. It is situated on the right side below the scene of Road to Emmaus.

The scene depicts the moment when Mary Magdalene, who has been searching desperately for Jesus's corpse, recognizes her "master" and attempts to approach him on her knees. Jesus steps back, telling her: "touch me not (noli me tangere); for I am not yet ascended to my Father".

In this scene the rocky landscape becomes a stage setting: the steep ravines isolate the intimate dialogue in surroundings of absolute solitude, while the trees (which have not appeared, since Christ Taken Prisoner) are the only witnesses. Jesus is portrayed as in the Descent into Hell, with a cruciform staff from which a standard is flying, while Mary Magdalene catches the eye with her vivid red mantle. The slant of the rocks accompanies and emphasizes the form of her bending body.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.