DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
(b. ca. 1255, Siena, d. 1319, Siena)

Christ Taken Prisoner (scene 7)

Tempera on wood, 51 x 76 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 centre of the bottom row above the scene of Agony in the Garden.

The Mount of Olives becomes the scene of unexpected agitation in Christ Taken Prisoner, containing three separate episodes: in the centre the kiss of Judas, to the left Peter cutting off the ear of the servant Malchus, to the right the flight of the apostles. The dramatic intensity of the scene, heightened by the crowded succession of spears, lanterns and torches, shows in the excited movements of the characters and the expressiveness of their faces. The landscape, after long being an anonymous feature of minor importance, takes on a new scenic role. The vegetation and rocky crags of Byzantine inspiration seem to be an integral part of the action: in the Agony in the Garden the three trees on the right isolate Christ, while in Christ Taken Prisoner they enclose the main episode, as if allowing the disciples to escape.