Johann Jakob Fink (Schwarzenberg 1821 – Rome 1846), The Easter morning or Noli me tangere
Oil on panel cm 76 x 48 signed (I. FINK) and dated (1846) lower left.
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Exhibitions: Quadreria. Dipinti ed acquerelli dal XVIII al XX secolo, catalogue by Serenella Rolfi and Chiara Stefani, Galleria Carlo Virgilio & C., Rome, November – December 1999
The subject represented in the painting presented here is known by the Latin title, Noli me tangere. The episode is taken from the Gospel of John (20: 1-8), which tells us of what happened on Easter morning, when Mary of Magdala went to the tomb of Jesus. Not finding the body of Christ, the Magdalene began to crying, saying, “They have taken my Lord away and I do not know where they put him.” That said, she turned back and saw that Jesus stood there; but she did not know it was Jesus. She thought, in fact, that he was the keeper of the garden. Then Jesus revealed to her by calling her by name. Immediately the Magdalene turned to him, but Jesus told her, “Leave me, because I have not yet returned to the Father. Go and tell my brothers that I return to my Father and yours, to my God and yours”.
In the painting presented here, work by the Austrian pre-Raphaelite painter Johann Jacob Fink, Mary of Magdala has her arms wide open towards the figure of Christ: it is the moment of recognition, of Jesus’ recognition, initially exchanged for a simple gardener. Mary’s face is streaked with tears, at her feet the jar of perfumed nard, ready to embalm the body of Jesus: she cries, does not want to believe, can not believe in the resurrection of Christ. The Master presents himself as a gardener with a spade in his hand. The same Gospel indicates it this way, like a gardener. And to Mary, weeping, Jesus shows the wounds. Show his sores that remain in glory. The painter shows a very strong contrast: on the one hand, the appearance of Christ suggests an absolute daily life, it is mistaken for a gardener; on the other hand, the open wounds of a redivive body are recognized in a disconcerting sign.
The author fuses the apparition of the Risen Lord to the Magdalene, with that done in the Cenacle to the assembled disciples. It is in the Upper Room, it is said in the Gospel, that Christ shows his wounds. The scene, conceived and realized by Fink, is completed with the opening on the landscape behind, in which the figures of the three Marys appear to approach the sepulcher of Christ and Mount Calvary with the three crosses raised.
Johann Jacob Fink, rediscovered during a 1996 exhibition organized by the Voralberg Museum in Bregenz (Austria) – a museum that still preserves the sketch and the preparatory drawings of the painting presented here – arrived in Rome in 1840, coming into contact with the Nazarene painters, the nineteenth-century German masters who were inspired by the great of our Renaissance, recovering styles, languages and iconographic subjects. . Here, he will find death, very young, just 25 years old, hit by a series of febrile attacks.