DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
(b. ca. 1255, Siena, d. 1319, Siena)
Christ Taking Leave of the Apostles (scene 4)1308-11
Tempera on wood, 50 x 53 cm
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena
The picture shows one of the 26 narrative scenes from the Stories of the Passion on the reverse side of the Maestà. It is situated in the bottom row on the left side below the scene of the Betrayal by Judas.
Following the story in John again, the scenes succeed each other from the bottom upwards although occurring simultaneously. While Jesus is giving the new commandment to the apostles (now eleven), Judas betrays him for thirty pieces of silver. In Christ Taking Leave of the Apostles, his sideways position, shown up by the half-open door, is in contrast to the closeknit group of disciples. They are all turning the same way in thoughtful attitudes, the soft drapery of their coloured robes animating the whole scene. As in the Washing of the Feet and the Last Supper Duccio has avoided haloes since the conspicuous shape of the golden discs might have created an overpowering effect, besides taking up most of the space in the picture.