Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Portraying Judas

How common is it to have Judas represented in a church’s stained glass windows, especially in the principal East Window? I had thought that our St Michael’s was strikingly unusual in doing so, but found another northern Lincolnshire example at Glentworth recently, so I guess it can’t be that uncommon after all.

The Last Supper is an obvious subject for an East Window, so Judas’ slinking out with his money bag is a detail which might well come up at places other than Glentworth (top). The Agony in the Garden is a less obvious choice, so Little Coates (bottom) probably still remains unusual in depicting Judas guiding the soldier’s to arrest Jesus.

At Glentworth, Judas has no halo, but the Little Coates image is striking for giving him a black one. At Glentworth, Judas’ features reflect those of the other apostles, but Little Coates betrays probably unconscious anti-Semitism by making him appear like a Fagin or a Shylock in sharp contrast to the appearance of the other apostles elsewhere in the window.

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