Against an architectural backdrop, Mary Magdalene becomes the first witness to Christ's Resurrection. Since he had not yet ascended to heaven, Jesus instructed her not to touch him (Noli me tangere in Latin) and asked her to go to his disciples with the message that he had risen (John 20:11-18).

Alessandro Magnasco filled this tall canvas and its pendant, Christ and the Samaritan Woman, with picturesque classical ruins, whose shapes echo the curves of the figures' theatrical poses. His energetic brushwork, nervous, sketchy style, and lively approach create around the risen Christ a flurry of drapery that seems to have a life of its own, adding to the drama of the miraculous event.

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