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Look through the treasures and answer the questions. You’ll collect jewels and for each level reached, earn certificates.
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This lively scene depicts the moment of Christ’s betrayal by Judas Iscariot.
An oval-shaped panel, with curved edges, made of wood and painted in bright oil colours, with details picked out in silver and gold leaf
The panel is made up of boards, imported to England from the eastern Baltic. Experts have analysed the wood and looked at the growth rings. They have identified that the tree used was felled after 1423 and estimated a date for its usage of c.1437-1469.
In the medieval period, not everybody could read and write. Paintings were therefore important in communicating the teachings of the Church.
A lot of religious art was destroyed during the Reformation, when Henry VIII created a new Church (of England) and even more so, during the Civil War (1642-51). Few examples survive in the UK and those that do, were often defaced.
In the medieval period, not everybody could read and write. Paintings were therefore important in communicating the teachings of the Church. At this time, it was common for churches to decorate their chapels with religious art. Religious art would tell stories and promote Christian values.
Are there links to current religious practices or a modern equivalent?
Different Christian denominations furnish churches with varying degrees of decoration. Baptists often meet in simple and unadorned buildings, while Orthodox Christians congregate in highly decorated churches and cathedrals.
A lot of English religious art was destroyed during the Reformation, when Henry VIII created a new Church (of England) and even more during the Civil War (1642-51). Few examples survive in the UK and those that do were often defaced. This survived because the boards were recycled during the Reformation. The image was turned around and the back converted into a painted board. There is some very faint writing on the board, that can only be seen under infra-red light, thought to have listed The Ten Commandments, typical of a Protestant church furnishing. It is believed the reason for its reuse could have been due to simple economic factors; it was cheaper to reuse old materials than buy new ones.
Devout Catholic parishioners would often scratch and gouge at the hated figure of Judas, so this painting would have been at risk from both Catholics and Protestants alike.
Later in its life, probably in the 19th century, a fourth board was tacked on from a damaged original companion painting, (The Flagellation of Christ) – this was painted over to match the style of The Kiss of Judas and perhaps to turn it into a decorative door. Remarkably, this part of The Flagellation of Christ came from the same original, larger painting, as The Kiss of Judas, which must have once formed part of a cycle of paintings depicting the Passion of Christ.
A Cambridge University research article explains how the Reformation may have saved this painting.