DÜRER, Albrecht
(b. 1471, Nürnberg, d. 1528, Nürnberg)

Betrayal of Christ (No. 3)

Engraving, 118 x 75 mm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Sheet No. 3 of the Engraved Passion.

St Peter, striking Malchus, seems to take the spotlight away from Christ. The head of Malchus is strongly reminiscent of that in a Schongauer's engraving. The episode in the background, showing a fleeing youth, represents the rarely illustrated passage Mark 14:51-52, perhaps transmitted by Passion plays. The object underneath Malchus is a lantern, which he customarily carries in Passion plays. The emphasis is here shifted from the commotion of the arrest to the tragedy of the betrayal. Physical violence is limited to the duel between St Peter and Malchus. Christ, unconscious of the noose which threatens his neck, bends his head and closes his eyes to receive the kiss, as though Judas and he were alone in the universe. Closely related to the corresponding subject in the Green Passion.