Judas Iscariot, Man of Sorrows

I have just finished this small painting  (11 by 20 inches), in that it is watercolor and gouache it moved along pretty nicely.

The theme of Judas is one I want to explore. On Good Friday I did a study of the Deposition, I want to develop that image. Before I leave this earth I want to have painted at least one Deposition, all of my favorite painters have painted the scene,and I want to add my feeble version to that visual conversation. My thought is to add Judas to the scene, perhaps replacing the fair and lovely Evangelist John (perhaps not). The Theotokis will still be present, a mother’s love would never allow her to leave the side of her child; but adding Judas is my attempt to play upon the theme of Redemption. I am not speaking exclusively of Christian redemption but of redemption as understood by a humanist. “Everyman” as a wretch needing succor.

In fact I have painted my Judas not heroically as is my tendency but as “Everyman”; in many ways it is a self portrait.

The First Martyr, Judas Iscariot

I’m going to return to my oil paintings this evening, I have three going in various stages of completion. Judas will be on my mind, his  frail humanity, his failures and his weaknesses. All attributes I understand and can relate to. I want to redeem this man, so hated that it is difficult to even bring him up (particularly amongst the traditionally faithful).

But I want to, as a boy I would secretly weep for him during  the Passion service.

I still feel for him.

Take care,


Author: babylonbaroque

I am a painter and printmaker working towards creating a body of work that reflects my own developing aesthetic. New work ,first link. The second link is an on-line portfolio.

9 thoughts on “Judas Iscariot, Man of Sorrows”

  1. Interesting, Leonard. His hook-like hands are not reaching toward the risen Christ, but are turned inward upon himself. What does this mean? Is he pointing an accusing finger at himself? A rather Greco-like face, too.

  2. I meant to convey angst and torment not rejection; the extended hand reaching torward in spite of Judas’ turmoil. I know when i have felt particularly forlorn, the hand that had extended beyond my self imposed barriers was much appreciated.
    As per the Greek, well that is a happy coincidence (-:

    1. Thank you my friend, I love and miss you & your wisdom.
      Give me a ring when you can, I will try calling you on Sunday, after mass?

  3. This is beautifully rendered Len. And as we were discussing last night, he is of course a much-hated figure to be sure, but if we are honest with ourselves it’s more for the reasons you mentioned — because we all are/have been a Judas. I for one can relate to him all too well, knowing myself to have been a Judas to friends and loved ones on more occasions than I care to recount and certainly to God as well. Which is exactly why Judas makes me so uncomfortable, he’s an incarnate icon of a side to myself that has led me to also (figuratively) hang my head in shame. But as always, I admire and respect you for exploring that which is so uncomfortable to discuss. Love you.

    1. Hey sweetie,
      Thank you for your thoughts but I believe your use of the word “traitor” to be unnecessarily harsh.
      But we will talk some more…
      Love you,

  4. You are very brave and generous to discuss the motives of works in progress. Not many artists do. I wonder if you have heard of the Polish writer Sholem Asch? Among his titles are three books on Christianity, “The Apostle,” “The Nazarene” and “Mary.” All will greatly enrich your understanding of the historical context of early Christianity. They can be had for a song on ebay. It may be that Judas was a more complex character than the Baltimore Catechism made him out to be.

    1. Thank you Justin.I will look into Asch’s work, I appreciate the lead. And yes, the Baltimore Catechism, as charming as it may have been, certainly provided simple solutions.
      Take care,

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