The Madonna and Child with Saints

This work was painted for the high altar, dedicated to the Magdalen, in the Francesco de Strata chapel in the church of S. Paolo in Vercelli. In the middle distance Christ appears as a gardener to Saint Mary Magdalen on the morning after the Resurrection, but tells her not to touch him ('noli me tangere') (John 20: 14-18). Saint Paul holds a paper with an inscription from his letter to the Romans (Romans 5: 1).

It was commissioned in 1540 by Francesco de Strata. The altarpiece originally had a predella depicting six events from the life and conversion of the Magdalen; this has not been traced.

Key facts

Artist dates
about 1512; died 1583
Full title
The Madonna and Child with Saint Mary Magdalene, Saint Gregory, Saint Joseph (?) and Saint Paul
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on wood
205.7 x 133.4 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated and inscribed
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1863
Inventory number
Location in Gallery