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1890s: Decade of Dissent

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Noli me tangere, from the Revue Blanche

19th century
36.2 cm x 26.1 cm (14 1/4 in. x 10 1/4 in.)

Ker-Xavier Roussel (Lorry-les-Metz, (Lorraine), 1867 - 1944, L'Etang-la-Ville, Yvelines (Île-de-France)) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Europe, French
Medium and Support: Lithograph
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
Accession Number: 2002.1583

Dissatisfied with his education, Roussel left the studio of academic painter Adolphe Bouguereau and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and later joined a group of artists who called themselves Nabis (Hebrew for “prophets”). Typical of the group, Roussel drew this subject from the Bible. Noli me tangere – Latin for “Don’t touch me” – refers to the passage where Christ appears to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection. Roussel’s is an enigmatic depiction of a subject common in medieval and renaissance art interpreted as a rejection of the sensual in favor of a contemplative life. Using tusche, an oily ink applied with a brush, to cover the lithographic stone and then scraping it away, Roussel employs a subtractive method to create ghost-like forms floating off the top of the sheet.

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