Caravaggio, The Taking of Christ, 1602

This painting should be called ‘The Kiss of Death,’ as Caravaggio gives us that exact moment when Judas identifies Christ with a kiss to the temple guards, who seize Christ and take him for crucifixion. In fact, this is the story from which we get the expression ‘kiss of death.’ St John the Evangelist (on the left) screams as he flees with outstretched hands. Caravaggio has painted himself into the melee – he is the one on the far right holding a lantern.
This painting has all the hallmarks of a great Caravaggio painting: chiaroscuro, a tight crop, photographic-like realism, but most importantly, drama.

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