Judas returning the thirty pieces of silver


Judas returning the thirty pieces of silver
(1629; Yorkshire, Mulgrave Castle)
   Christ was arrested after Judas led the Roman soldiers to him, for which he was paid 30 pieces of silver. After the arrest, Judas, overwhelmed by a sense of remorse, attempted to return the money, but the high priests and elders refused it. This is the scene depicted by Rembrandt in this work. Judas is shown on his knees with hands clasped as he explains to the priests and elders that he has betrayed innocent blood. This gesture is so powerful that, upon seeing the work, Constantijn Huygens, secretary to Stadholder Frederik Hendrik, praised Rembrandt's ability to convey great emotion and predicted that he would soon surpass the famous masters of his era, which in fact he did. Huygens also called Rembrandt the greatest of history painters.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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