Christ Appears to Mary Magdalene on Easter Morning (Noli me tangere)

Jan Brueghel the Younger, Peter Paul Rubensc. 1626

Kunsthalle Bremen

Kunsthalle Bremen
Bremen, Germany

Cloaked in red, a spade in His hand, the Risen Christ appears first to Mary Magdalene, who, according to the biblical story, initially mistakes him for a gardener, and does not recognize him until Christ calls her by name. When she attempts to touch Him, He does not let her: “Touch me not (Noli me tangere); for I am not yet ascended to my Father” (John 20:14–17). In keeping with the motif of Christ as Gardener, the scene unfolds in a broad landscape. Flowers are still in bloom here, whereas the vegetables are ready to be harvested—an allusion to Paradise. At the same time, some of the plants may be interpreted as referring symbolically to what is happening. The thistle-like artichoke stands for the Passion of Christ, while the caterpillar and the butterfly represent the Resurrection. This painting is a joint work by Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Bruegel the Younger, whereby Rubens executed the figures and Bruegel painted the background and the plants, which have been reproduced in the minutest detail. Such a division of labor was not uncommon in Netherlandish painting, as artists specialized in certain painting genres.


  • Title: Christ Appears to Mary Magdalene on Easter Morning (Noli me tangere)
  • Creator: Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Brueghel the Younger
  • Date Created: c. 1626
  • Physical Dimensions: 59.0 x 100.0 cm
  • Type: painting
  • Rights: Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen
  • Medium: Oil in wood

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