Giotto, The Arrest of Jesus

Scrovegni Chapel, Padua

In the center Judas kisses Jesus to identify him to the crowd at right. In some images Judas is pictured with a halo to signify that Jesus has not given up on him even yet, but in this case he has none.

At left, Peter (with the bald spot on top of his head) starts to cut off the ear of one of the servants of the High Priest (John 18:10). The torches in the foreground and the lantern in the background are from John 18:3 but not found in the other gospels, which mention only the weapons. On the other hand, the artist ignores that same verse's statement that the mob included soldiers. There are no soldiers here or in the other gospels.

Giotto emphasizes the great size of the mob by putting a sea of hairy heads behind the protagonists and in the background on the right. Also to this purpose he pictures only the profile of the man at the far right margin, suggesting that the frame is too small to contain the whole crowd. Similarly, the man in purple in the left foreground reaches out to grasp the cloak of a man who stands entirely outside the frame.

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Photographed at the chapel by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.