The Kiss of Judas

3334 Words14 Pages 1 The Kiss of Judas Reflections on Giotto di Bondone’s Kiss of Judas (Arena Chapel, 1304-06) and Duccio di Buoninsegna’s The Betrayal of Christ (Maesta Altarpiece, 1308-11). Timothy Scott Kiss of Judas (Giotto) The Betrayal of Christ (Duccio) 2 Jesus was still speaking when a crowd arrived, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. He came up to Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said, ‘Judas, is it with a kiss that you betray the Son of Man?’ When the disciples who were with Jesus saw what was going to happen, they asked, ‘Shall we use our swords, Lord?’ And one of them struck the High Priest’s slave and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘Enough of this!’ He touched the man’s ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and the elders who had come there to get him, ‘Did you have to come with swords and clubs, as though I were an outlaw? I was with you in the Temple every day, and you did not try to arrest me. But this is your hour to act, when the power of darkness rules.’ (Luke 22:47-53) Duccio di Buoninsegna’s The Betrayal of Christ (Maesta Altarpiece, 1308-11) presents an immediate wealth of religious symbolism. One’s vision is instantaneously arrested by the brilliance of Christ’s cloak. The startling blue of this garment speaks directly to our primordial imagination of the sky above–infinite, unknowable. Symbolically this is the divine infinitude, the virginal plenitude from whence Christ is born and which remains constant as the mysterious substratum of existence. Around this blue burns the gold rimming at once both sunrise and sunset, simultaneously setting ablaze the horizon. This golden “sun” is both the phenomenal sun that speaks of the daily cycle and also the Divine Sun that remains always the Centre, its rays–none other than the Holy
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