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.
“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
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