The Taking of Christ was painted by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio in 1602.
The painting depicts the betrayal of Christ with the moment Judas kissed Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Caravaggio’s signature use of chiaroscuro heightens the drama of this betrayal scene.
The painting was one of the most celebrated works produced by Caravaggio in his time. However, during the 18th century the painting became unaccounted for and was only known in a modern context through its various copies. The painting was rediscovered in 1990 in a Jesuits’ house in Dublin. It had been mistakenly attributed to Gerard van Honthorst while in the possession of the Mattei family in Rome (The painting was originally commissioned by the ancestors of the Mattei family). The painting had subsequently been sold to William Hamilton Nisbet while he undertook a ‘Grand Tour.’ From there the painting was purchased by the Irish doctor Marie Lea-Wilson and was moved to Ireland. Lea-Wilson later gifted the painting to the Jesuit Fathers in Dublin where it remained until its rediscovery by Sergio Benedetti, the senior conservator at the National Gallery of Ireland.
The painting is part of the permanent collection at the National gallery of Ireland and is currently part of the ongoing exhibition ‘Beyond Caravaggio’ showing through 14th May 2017.
Did you known?
The figure standing in the background holding up a lantern is said to be a self-portrait of Caravaggio.