This oil on panel is a work by the famous Callisto Piazza of Lodi. The Piazza family was active in Lodi for three generations, with Lodi being an important cultural center located at the crossroads between Milan and Brescia in northern Italy. During the 16th century, the family dominated the city's cultural production by producing frescoes, polyptychs, paintings, and decorations.
The represented subject, Noli me tangere, derives its source from the Gospel of St. John 20:17. The iconography depicted is typical of those one finds at the end of the 15th century, duringthe late Middle Ages, with the figure of Christ as a gardener equipped with an agricultural tool, in this instance, a hoe. His face is encircled with a cruciform halo, similar to that in the great fresco by Fra Angelico at the Basilica San Marco, Florence. One of the two angels, who spoke with Mary Magdalene, appears to the right, while Jerusalem is visible in the background.
The very Venetian tone of this painting, visible through the predominance of its ochre hues, proves Callisto Piazza's stay in Brescia between 1523 and 1529, this territory having belonged to the Republic of Venice from the early 15th century. In this painting we find the Brescian paint strokes evoking the work of Moretto da Brescia, the portraits by Giovanni Battista Moroni, but perhaps moreover, the influence of Girolamo Romanino (1485-1566). The closeness to the latter is such that Portrait of a Man by Callisto Piazza, now housed at the National Gallery in London (Inv. NG2096), was initially ascribed to his contemporary Girolamo Romanino.
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