We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of a new masterwork by Italian artist Luca Giordano (1634-1705). El Prendimiento de Cristo (The Arrest of Christ) became available at auction in Barcelona late last year, and the Museum was fortunate enough to acquire the painting thanks to funds graciously provided by Labor and Honor, the Andrea and James Clarke Family Foundation.
Giordano was a notable painter of the Baroque era who enjoyed great success in both Italy and Spain. Influenced by earlier masters such as Raphael, Rubens, and de Ribera, this piece showcases his immense talent for creating compelling scenes using dynamic lighting, color, gesture, and emotion. The acquisition augments the Museum’s holdings of seventeenth-century artworks and adds a distinctive and poignant subject from Christ’s Passion to its religious painting collection.
The emotive oil painting captures the pivotal moment in the New Testament where the apostle Judas betrays Christ with a kiss. Jesus stands at the center of the image, his gaunt, anguished face contrasting sharply with Judas’ leer. Soldiers adorned in bright clothing and shining weaponry surround the pair as Christ’s hand covers his heart and Judas’ clutches a bag of silver coins—the price of his betrayal. Meanwhile Peter appears off to the side, defending his submissive Savior by taking a sword to a legionnaire’s ear.
“Acquiring a 17th century Italian painting of this caliber is an incredible opportunity, particularly one that focuses on scenes from the Life of Christ,” said our Director, Dr. Janalee Emmer. “We anticipate that this work will be one that faculty, students, and our community can study and appreciate for many years to come. We are so thrilled to add this important painting to the museum’s permanent collection.”
Visitors can now see this masterpiece in person in the new exhibition Of Souls and Sacraments: Symbol and Context in Christian Art, which is open through July 2024. The rich symbollism in Giordano’s artistry has become an invaluable addition to the exhibition.
“Our family is honored to support the incredible work of BYU’s Museum of Art,” said donor James Clarke. “We are especially excited that our donation allowed the museum to secure this amazing piece of art. Giordano’s Arrest of Christ is a fascinating painting, both in terms of its caliber and the important religious scene it portrays. Our family has found great meaning in supporting the arts and education, which are perfectly encapsulated at the BYU Museum of Art.”
The MOA actively seeks out new acquisitions to expand its collection, particularly to include new artists, styles, and subject matters. The MOA staff is deeply grateful to the Clarke family and each of its other donors, without whose kindness it would be unable to share such meaningful works with visitors and online audiences throughout the world. To learn how you can support the Museum to support acquisitions, exhibitions and more, please contact Development Chair Mark Magleby (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also browse highlights of other recent acquisitions here.