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Relief of the Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus, 1264–88AD

Amiens, France



Relief of the Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
Date: 1264–88
Geography: Made in Amiens, Picardy, France
Medium: Limestone with traces of polychromy and gilding
Dimensions: Overall: 39 1/4 x 43 x 9 in. (99.7 x 109.2 x 22.9 cm)

Four key events in the final hours of Jesus’ life are dramatically shown here (from left to right): Peter sheathing his sword after severing the ear of Malchus (seated), the high priest’s servant; Jesus miraculously restoring the ear; Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss; and Roman soldiers arresting Jesus. The compression of these events into one scene with its complex interweaving of figural masses creates a powerful sculptural statement.

In the medieval church the choir screen separated the nave and the choir area. By the thirteenth century these barriers often were decorated with extensive narrative themes, especially the Passion, the dramatic final events in the earthly life of Jesus. Because they hindered participation in church rituals by the laity, most European churches eventually eliminated them. The choir screen at the cathedral in Amiens was destroyed in 1755. This relief is one of the largest and best preserved narrative sculptures to survive.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Accession Number: 17.120.5



Referenced on p35, Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era, 1050-1350, Western Europe and the Crusader States by David Nicolle
45 'The Betrayal', carving probably from area of Amiens, Vermandois, c.l275-1300
(Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. 17.120.5, New York, United States)

The soldier on the carving of the Betrayal has a close fitting cervellière held by a triple chin-strap over a mail coif.



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