- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

Visual Analysis of the Arrest of Christ

Page 1 of 5

Visual Analysis of The Arrest of Christ

During the renaissance period, artistic works boomed and creative artists flourished throughout Europe. The stylish painting The Arrest of Christ by Hieronymus Bosch, which will be discussed in detail later, was created in 1515 from this period and had aroused people’s interests for a long time. It was painted by oil and tempera on panel in Netherland and about 20*32 inches. Now this painting is exhibited in San Diego Museum of Art. In this paper, its background, painter’s style, composition, visual analysis of figures, use of color and museum setting will be analyzed thoroughly.

The Arrest of Christ can be seen as a typical high renaissance artwork. In high renaissance, there were dozens of religious artworks. The subject of this painting was from the story in New Testament - Christ was arrested by his enemy after betrayed by Judas, his disciple who sold his soul for lust for money. The prevalence of humanism, in which individuals’ value and freedom are emphasized, during renaissance period encouraged painters to have novel ideas. Hieronymus Bosch’s painting style is quite novel and he fits the features of a renaissance artist.

Bosch’s artistic style is quite weird and kind of horrifying. He examines humans’ sin and tries to arouse the fear in viewers’ unconscious mind by depicting figures demoniacally. His religious figures in paintings are usually distorted- the bad characters are disfigured as devils. However, Bosch remains an enigma because we cannot find any writings or documents that can show Bosch’s personality. It is only his strange painting style that remains in viewers’ minds and we can see his style clearly from The Arrest of Christ.

The composition of this painting is a little bit messy at first glance. The Christ is at the center and the six tormenters surround him closely and they kind of mix together. However, when we examine the painting closely, we can find that the focus is the serene Christ, who seems haven’t noticed the existence of coming tormenters and the hands around his neck. His face is still calm and divine even he is facing the death. The six tormenters, on the other hand, all have horrifying and monstrous faces, which are deliberately distorted by Bosch to reveal their demon nature. The tormenter on Christ’s left grasps a sword, he is staring at Christ determinedly and is about to take sword out of the scabbard. The red dwarf on the right corner of painting is also holding a sword in his hand, he’s looking at the direction of Christ’ heart, and is ready to stab. The tormenter on Christ’s right, who shows only half of his face, seems to try to squeeze into the tormenters. His long face is ugly and disproportional. One of his eyes is closed, he is looking at Christ using only one eye, but it also created a sense that he is looking through the painting- he is looking at you. The man wearing a brown hat is not thrilling as other tormenters, his face is indifferent. He doesn’t care about Christ’s death, doesn’t care what is going to happen, he’s here only for his mission- to kill Christ. No sympathy exists in his heart. The most frightful tormenter in the painting is the man behind all the tormenters. His face is not depicted clearly, almost in dark, but we can see that his lips curve up a little- he’ smiling for Christ’s death. This creates a psychological impact for the viewers. He is secretly smiling behind all the characters, just like Judas surreptitiously betrayed Christ. One thing interesting here is that the tormenter is holding a

Download as (for upgraded members)
Citation Generator

(2017, 01). Visual Analysis of the Arrest of Christ. Retrieved 01, 2017, from

"Visual Analysis of the Arrest of Christ" 01 2017. 2017. 01 2017 <>.

"Visual Analysis of the Arrest of Christ.", 01 2017. Web. 01 2017. <>.

"Visual Analysis of the Arrest of Christ." 01, 2017. Accessed 01, 2017.