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BYU Museum of Art acquires new Italian masterwork

By Ashtyn Asay - | Aug 5, 2022

Courtesy BYU Muesum of Art

Brigham Young University Museum of Art recently purchased "El Prendimiento de Cristo" ("The Arrest of Christ") by Luca Giordano with funds provided by Labor and Honor, the Andrea and James Clarke Family Foundation.

The Brigham Young University Museum of Art has acquired a new painting by Italian artist Luca Giordano via donation.

Giordano’s “El Prendimiento de Cristo, The Arrest of Christ,” illustrates a scene from the New Testament where Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss while the two are surrounded by soldiers.

The painting went up for auction in Barcelona, Spain, last year where the museum was able to acquire it due to a donation from Labor and Honor, the Andrea and James Clarke Family Foundation.

“Acquiring a 17th century Italian painting of this caliber is an incredible opportunity, particularly one that focuses on scenes from the Life of Christ,” Janalee Emmer, director of the MOA, said in a press release. “We anticipate that this work will be one that faculty, students, and our community can study and appreciate for many years to come. We are so thrilled to add this important painting to the museum’s permanent collection.”

Giordano was a late Italian-Baroque painter who is known for his series of frescos throughout Florence, Italy, featuring allegorical and religious figures. Giordano was an apprentice to Jusepe de Ribera, who critics claim heavily influenced his early work.

The Labor and Honor Foundation is a private foundation with a mission of alleviating poverty and providing individuals and families with access to education and the arts.

“Our family is honored to support the incredible work of BYU’s Museum of Art,” James Clarke, donor of the painting, said in the release. “We are especially excited that our donation allowed the museum to secure this amazing piece of art. Giordano’s Arrest of Christ is a fascinating painting, both in terms of its caliber and the important religious scene it portrays. Our family has found great meaning in supporting the arts and education, which are perfectly encapsulated at the BYU Museum of Art.”

El Prendimiento de Cristo will be featured in the MOA’s “Of Souls and Sacraments: Symbol and Context in Christian Art” exhibition, where it will be on display through July 2024.

“The MOA staff is deeply grateful to the Clarke family and each of its other donors, without whose kindness it would be unable to share such meaningful works with visitors and online audiences throughout the world,” the press release said.

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