HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger
(b. 1497, Augsburg, d. 1543, London)

The Passion (detail)

Oil on limewood
Kunstmuseum, Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel

The picture shows a detail of the scene Arrest in the Garden.

Christ is arrested at night. To show the soldiers which man is their victim, the yellow-clad Judas gives Jesus the traitor's kiss. In the foreground, Peter has thrown to the ground Malchus, a servant of the High Priest, and in a stroke has brought out the knife that will cut off the fallen man's ear. In this scene, Holbein takes up the challenge of painting a night scene by colourist means. The sky is shown in solid black, while flickering torches create dramatic light effects on the tree and the figures.