Scala/Art Resource, NY

A new Eden. Mary Magdalene is the first to encounter the resurrected Jesus in a garden outside his tomb. As shown in this fresco by the Italian artist Fra Angelico, Mary impulsively and very humanly reaches out for Jesus. But he cautions her, “Do not hold me” (Noli me tangere, in Latin) (John 20:17).

As author Griffith-Jones notes, John’s gospel begins and ends in a garden. In the opening verses of his first chapter, the God of Genesis is creating the world; in these last lines, Jesus promises his disciples a new world.

The painting is one of a series of small frescoes painted by Fra (Brother) Angelico in each monk’s cell in the Monastery of San Marco, in Florence, Italy.