Noli me tangere, from the Revue Blanche
36.2 cm x 26.1 cm (14 1/4 in. x 10 1/4 in.)
(Lorry-les-Metz, (Lorraine), 1867 - 1944, L'Etang-la-Ville, Yvelines (Île-de-France))
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
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.