Curator’s Choice

Noli Me Tangere

Domenico Antonio Vaccaro

Domenico Antonio Vaccaro, Neapolitan, 1691-1745

Domenico Antonio Vaccaro, Neapolitan,
Circa 1705-1710
Oil on canvas
24 5/16 in/ x 19 1/4 in.(actual)

The painting Noli Me Tangere (Do Not Touch Me) is taken from the Gospel according to John 20: 14-18, where Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection from the dead.

14 When she had said this she turned round and beheld Jesus standing there, and she did not know that it was Jesus.

15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why art thou weeping? Whom dost thou seek?” She, thinking that he was the gardener, said to him, “Sir, if thou hast removed him, tell me where thou hast laid him and I will take him away.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” Turning, she said to him “Rabonni!” (that is to say, Master).

17 Jesus said to her, “Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren and say to them, 'I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God.'”

18 Mary Magdalene came, and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and these things he has said to me.”

Vaccaro's painting shows his use of the Baroque chiaroscuro (strong contrasts of light and shade) effects that create flickering lights on sinuous and billowing drapery forms. The two monumental figures of Christ and Mary are brought together in contrapposto movement towards one another. Their gestures are expressive, yet restrained.

Domenico Antonio Vaccaro

Domenico Antonio Vaccaro belonged to a family of artists and is considered one of the most important designers working in Naples in the early part of the 18th century. He is credited with introducing a more illusionistic style in the large decorative programs he created in that city.

He is also known as a sculptor and architect and his earliest artistic training was with his father, Lorenzo, a sculptor. Vaccaro served an apprenticeship with the painter, Francesco Solimena (1657-1747). His paintings from this period reveal a passion for non-academic compositions and he was greatly influenced by Solimena's “giordanesque” works. Characteristically, Vaccaro's compositions feature a brilliant palette and an almost neo-mannerist sense of detailing.

He designed several of the domed octagonal-plan churches in Naples and created numerous altarpieces as well.

Exhibition History:
Knights of Columbus Museum
A Gift of Faith: Knights of Columbus Religious Art Collection
Aug. 1 - Sept. 30, 2001, New Haven, Conn.