Betrayal of Christ by Judas

   The betrayal by Judas takes place after the Last Supper when Christ goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray (Agony in the Garden). Judas leads the Roman soldiers and priests to Christ and kisses him so he may be identified as the individual to be arrested. Peter is so enraged by the event that he pulls out a knife and cuts off the ear of Malchus, one of the priests' servants. The scene is rendered by Giotto in the Arena Chapel, Padua (1305), where Judas puckers his lips to kiss Jesus. He also envelops the Lord with his cloak to effectively convey the drama of the moment depicted. To the left is Peter, with knife in hand, behind Malchus. Similar scenes are offered by Duccio in the Maestà Altarpiece (1308-1311; Siena, Museo dell' Opera del Duomo), Fra Angelico at San Marco Monastery in Florence (c. 1450), and Dirk Bouts in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich (c. 1450). Caravaggio's Betrayal of Christ by Judas (1602-1603; Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland) presents a close-up view of the event, with three-quarter figures in emotive gestures, among them the painter himself.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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