But This is Your Hour—When Darkness Reigns

“The Arrest in the Garden” from The Passion Altarpiece by Hans Holbein the younger

I had never really studied Hans Holbein the Younger’s artwork, other than the pieces he made when in the court of the Tudors, brought over by Henry VIII. I never knew that he made religious artwork, let alone being influenced by Albrecht Dürer (an artist I like and have reviewed in the past) and Matthias Grünewald (another artist I like and am reviewing tomorrow).

But as I was searching for am image to use to show the arrest of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemene, I found this one and  discovered Holbein’s Passion Altarpiece. 

When creating this piece, Holbein was influenced greatly by the Italian masters, such as Raphael and da Vinci, along with his father, Hans Holbein the Elder.

While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.” Luke 22:47-53

So we see that Holbein carefully studied the text to present the image of Christ. Like Giotto, and Caravaggio who would come later, Holbein creates a small window onto the world of Christ and scene of the arrest.

We see that there is  great perspective in this, with all the figures in the scene overlapping in confusion and the attack as they surround Jesus and Judas.

The dark tones and chiaroscuro create dramatic flair and a supreme intensity, the flames of the mob and the central figures being highlighted and immediately capturing your eye.

There are two things that really struck me in this image. First, if you look at Jesus as Judas is giving him the kiss to signify his betrayal, a soldier has grasped him. This is one of the few that actually show an arrest in progress, instead of just confusion.

Also if you look at Peter, this is one the fiercest paintings of him. In this image he is not only cutting off a soldier’s ear, but he has knocked said soldier to the ground, slicing off his ear, and continues to pin him down threatening to do more if waved ahead by Christ. I think this perfectly captures Peter as a man of emotion and one who was always quick acting and intense in everything he does.

A powerful and intense painting.

For more on the arrest of Christ, go to The Arrest

For more images of Jesus, go to But That the Scripture May Be Fulfilled

In other news, this marks my 900th post!

It only took us six months to get here, that’s one less than last time.

For the 800th post, go to Every Three Thousand Years, the Stars Align. Unleashing an Army of Monsters: TMNT (2007)

For the 700th post, go to Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try

Advertisements

The Arrest

durer_betrayal_smllpssn_grt

So the next artwork we are going to look at is The Betrayal of Jesus by Albrecht Dürer, a woodcut.

Now Dürer was a painter from Germany, his work becoming a part of the German Renaissance. He also did a series of woodcuts, a media made popular after the Gutenberg Press was invented as it was easy and cheap to make.

This woodcut was a part of a series Dürer did, called the Little Passion. This was before he became a part of Martin Luther’s protestant movement; and changed to doing Reformation art.

durer_betrayal_smllpssn_grt

So as we look upon Dürer’s work we see a lot of similarities to the Giotto and Duccio pieces I have reviewed in the past. We are given a window onto a world, with the background being about Christs’s arrest and the foreground on Peter’s attack.

But there are a few differences. If you look at the action in the background you see how intense the capture of Christ was. We have men with ropes, spears, and axes; reaching to pull Judas out of the way and capture Jesus. If you look clodsely at the interaction between Jesus, Judas, and the guard; you’ll notice that Caravaggio copied it for his own work almost 100 years later.

We also see a very intense scene with Peter. While most art depicts him cutting the ear off of a guard trying to attack Jesus, this one is more extreme. Not only is Peter about to slice of the man’s appendage, but he has knocked him to the ground, tossed the lantern in his face, and has completely overpowered him.

If you look at Jesus’ face, we can also see that his expression is not one of anger or sadness, but acceptance. He knows what is in store for him, willingly going ahead with the plan.

I choose this painting for the intensity along with the way it brings the text to life. I think this is a powerful woodcut, especially in its depiction of Peter.

“Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him.”–Mark 14:43-46

“Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear…Jesus commanded Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”– John 18: 10-11

“And he [Jesus] touched the man’s ear and healed him.” Luke 22: 51

“Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’ In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.”–Matthew 26: 52-56

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For more paintings on the arrest of Christ, go to The Taking of Christ

For more paintings of Christ, go to What If God Was One of Us?

The Taking of Christ

And our journey to Easter continues along…

So the next part I am going to cover is the betrayal of Christ in the garden of Gethsemene. Two years ago I chose the revolutionary piece, Giotto’s Kiss of Judas; and last year I did,  the more widely accepted image (of the time) Duccio’s Betrayal of Christ.

This year I decided to do a later piece. This image is by Caravaggio and is The Taking of Christ. Carvaggio is from the Baroque period and is known for his personal style of using tenebrism. Tenebrism is a way of using the paint to create areas of dark and light, the contrast creating certain illuminated spots.

Carvaggio also liked to create large painting, practically life-sized, that were zoomed onto a certain action. Instead copying Giotto or Duccio, who both showed every part of the Garden of Gethsemene, Carvaggio focuses on one part of the scene. In this, Caravaggio is highlighting when Judas comes to betray Christ. He has already told the centurions that he will kiss the cheek of the man they need to arrest. Caravaggio has chosen that moment to portray, his light illuminating Jesus and Judas’ faces, depicting the calm Jesus, as he already knew this moment was to come. In the background on the right, the light picks up a fleeing disciple, as they all ran away in fear of also being arrested.

The light also illuminates the centurions’ armor on the left, as they start crowding in the scene, coming to take Jesus away.

takingifchristmichelangelo_caravaggio_57_the_taking_of_christ

“Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him.”–Mark 14:43-46

“Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear…Jesus commanded Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”– John 18: 10-11

“And he [Jesus] touched the man’s ear and healed him.” Luke 22: 51

“Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’ In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.”–Matthew 26: 52-56

heading-banner11970857801243195263Andy_heading_flourish.svg.hi

For the previous painting, go to Take and Eat, This is My Body

For more paintings on the arrest of Jesus, go to The Betrayer’s Kiss

Elevation of the Cross

So last year I decided to do something different to celebrate Easter, that is by choosing art to represent and celebrate.

So the image I wanted to focus on today is The Elevation of the Cross by Reubens.

Elevation of the Cross

What is really interesting in this image is that it is a marriage between Northern and Southern styles. Now Rueben was a very big fan of Michelangelo, so if you look at his bodies you can see the similarities between the works. Both were deeply interested in the muscles and showing strength in the human form. Reubens also mimics Carvaggio in his use of the art form tenebrism and Leonardo’s chiaroscuro. The important bodies are highlighted to show that they are the focus, with the background in shadow in order to show darkness and add drama.

It utilizes the styles of the North as it is extremely detailed, you can see all the leaves and individual pieces of hair, etc. On the right side panel you can see the horses and how exact they are. It is also similar to how earlier paintings in the Renaissance used a triptych or three panels to tell the story. As for the South, it has the afore mentioned characteristics of Michelangelo, Carvaggio, and Leonardo.

Peter_Paul_Rubens_Elevation of the Cross

“They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means ‘the place of the skull’). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.”–Mark 15: 21-23

“Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed…one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”–Luke 23: 32-34

“Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” …Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he lovedstanding nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,”  and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”–John 19: 19-27

shock_passion_of_the_christ

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”–Luke 23: 39-43

“At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)… Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink.”–Mark 15: 33-36

“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”–John 19: 30

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open…When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”–Matthew 27:51-54

“So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body…Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.”–Mark 15: 42-46

“The chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’  So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.”  So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”–Matthew 27:62-66

To go to previous Easter posts click on The Betrayer’s Kiss 

The Betrayer’s Kiss

So the next image is going to cover the betrayal of Christ in the garden of Gethsemene and his sentence before Pilate. Now last year I chose the revolutionary, and in my opinion better image, Giotto’s The Kiss of JudasHowever, this year I have chosen the more widely accepted image (of the time) Duccio’s Betrayal of Christ.

Betrayal of Christ Duccio

This image is part of the Maestá Altarpiece created 1308-1311. This image is one of the many scenes of the life of Christ that are located on the back. Now contrary to Giotto’s work, this one is closer to flat Byzantine style, has no perspective, as in the spacing to create realistic distances, and is very staged. To the left we have the scene where Judas kisses Jesus on the cheek, to show the Pharisee’s which one is Jesus. Duccio put this scene in the middle to grab the viewers attention, but doesn’t try to create a world around him, instead only trying to make a beautiful image. All the characters in the back who are angry anf after Jesus are emotionless and unconnected to the scene. They also are arranged funny, as to not overlap.

To the far left is the scene of Peter cutting the ear of one who is attacking Jesus. What is written as an exciting tale, as Peter the impulsive hothead strikes at a guard to protect his teacher, only to be rebuked as Jesus’ heals the man. While Giotto made it more dramatic, in Duccio’s piece not only does it look extremely hard and impossible for Peter to cut of the ear from that angle, but he also doesn’t seem involved in the action, more of doing it half-heartedly. It reminds me of how Caravaggio did the Judith Slaying Holofernes story. In his image,  Judith is squemish and not really feeling it, unlike the story and Artemisia Gentileschi’s (in which Judith totally kicks butt).

To the far right we have the fleeing of the disciples, as they are scared at what might happen to them after Jesus is captured, well actually willingly taken.

All in all I do not like this particular image. It is flat, with a gold background that only adds to make one have no sense of perspective. The trees and mountains appear to be randomly placed there instead of having the purpose of adding to the image. None of the charaters seem involved in the story or with each other, as none seem to connect or react to the actions. This tranquil scene is a far cry from the Giotto masterpiece that completely evoked one’s emotion. But at the time this was highly popular as beauty won over technique, along with perspective and emotional connections not really being popular concepts with most artists.

“Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him.”–Mark 14:43-46

“Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear…Jesus commanded Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?’     –John 18: 10-11

“And he [Jesus] touched the man’s ear and healed him.”–Luke 22: 51

“Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’ In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.” –Matthew 26: 52-56

To go to the previous Easter posts click on Do This in Remembrance of Me