Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Giotto: The Betrayers

Detail from The Last Supper
From today's gospel:

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant. One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him, “Master, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.” So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
John 13:21-27

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.” Peter said to him, “Master, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.”
John 13:36-38

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In this detail from The Last Supper from the Arena Chapel, we see Judas in the lower left-hand corner dipping his hand in the dish with Jesus. We see John reclining at Jesus' side and it appears that the figure in the upper right-hand corner is perhaps nodding. This figure is very similar to Giotto's portrayal of St. Peter in the Upper Church, San Francesco in Assisi.

This scripture brings Judas and Peter into close contrast. Judas knows that he is the betrayer, his price is thirty pieces of silver, and once he is discovered, he leaves. Jesus challenges Peter in much the same way he does Judas, but Peter does not know himself, or what the price of his betrayal may be.

Like Peter, we can never be too sure what our price is. Jesus says, "one of you," but in truth, we are all that one.

All pictures are from the Web Gallery of Art.


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