Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Arrest of Christ

Niccolò Giolfino (Italian, Verona 1476–1555 Verona)
ca. 1545–46
Brush and brown wash, highlighted with white gouache, over traces of black chalk, on greenish paper
9-1/8 x 10-1/2 in. (23.1 x 26.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Hewitt Fund, 1917
Accession Number:
Not on view
Niccolò Giolfino, a leading artist in the north Italian city of Verona in the 1540s, drew this scene in preparation for his oil painting "The Arrest of Christ" completed in 1546 for the Avanzi Chapel in the church of San Bernardino, Verona. The tumultuous scene depicts the moment following Judas's betrayal with a kiss that identified Christ to the Roman soldiers. Now, barely able to reach his forehead, the bearded Judas is pushed aside by the helmeted soldier who moves Christ toward the waiting rope. As if oblivious to his own capture, Christ turns his attention to Saint Peter, who has struck off the ear of the high priest's slave Malchus. Succinct strokes of white gouache forming Christ's downturned mouth convey his disappointment at Peter's anger. Here and in the other foreground figures, fine lines made with the point of the brush clearly and carefully describe the forms; in the background, by contrast, the landscape is more loosely defined in broad, rapid strokes.
Inscription: Annotated in pen and brown ink at lower right, "Il. Giolfino. Fece. / ; C:"; in another hand at lower left, "Giottino, La Pittura é in ..." (the rest illegible; written over an annotation that has been erased); on verso, "C: / Di Tomaso detto Giottino f.".
Possibly acquired by Thomas Herbert, eighth earl of Pembroke (British, 1656–1733, Wilton House, Wiltshire); Henry Herbert, tenth earl of Pembroke (British, 1734–1794, Wilton House, Wiltshire), by 1772 (was in Pembroke volume XU.2., dated 24 Nov. 1772); by descent to Reginald Herbert, fifteenth earl of Pembroke (British, 1880–1960, Wilton House, Wiltshire); Sotheby's, London, July 5–6, 9–10, 1917, no. 395
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings from New York Collections I: The Italian Renaissance," November 8, 1965–January 9, 1966.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Girolamo dai Libri and Veronese Art of the Sixteenth Century," November 16, 2015–February 7, 2016.

Sandford Arthur Strong Reproductions in Facsimile of Drawings by the Old Masters in the Collection of the Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery at Wilton House. London, 1900, Part I, no. 4, repr. (as Niccolò Giolfino).

Jacob Bean, Felice Stampfle Drawings from New York Collections, Vol. I: The Italian Renaissance. Exh. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1965, p. 36, no. 36.

Fondazione Giorgio Cini Disegni veneti dell'Ambrosiana. Exh. cat. Venice, 1979, p. 22, fig. 11, fig. no. 11.

L.C.J. Frerichs Italiaanse Tekeningen II, de 15de en 16de Eeuw. Exh. cat., Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Amsterdam, 1981, p. 38, fig. 71.

Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 15th and 16th Century Italian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1982, pp. 105-07, no. 97, repr.

Giovanni Agosti Disegni del Rinascimento in Valpadana Exh. cat. Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi. Florence, 2001, p. 64 (n. 190).

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