Judas Repentant, Returning the Pieces of Silver

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Judas Repentant, Returning the Pieces of Silver
Judas Returning the Thirty Silver Pieces - Rembrandt.jpg
Judas Repentant
Year1629 (1629)
Mediumoil on wood
SubjectA repentant Judas returns the thirty pieces of silver to the Temple.
Dimensions79 cm × 102 cm (31 in × 40 in)
LocationMulgrave Castle, Lythe, N Yorks
Ownerprivate collection

Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver is a painting by Rembrandt, now in Mulgrave Castle in Lythe, North Yorkshire.[1] It depicts the story of Matthew 27:3: "Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders".

Made in 1629 while he was working in Leiden, the painting is one of Rembrandt's earliest works. About 1630, Constantijn Huygens wrote an analysis of the figure of Judas in it, arguing that Rembrandt had surpassed the painters from antiquity, as well as the great sixteenth-century Italian artists when it came to the representation of emotions expressed by figures that act in a history painting.[2][3]

Because of the notoriety of Judas' betrayal of Jesus, this event in the gospels was rarely, if ever, portrayed before and this is the only instance of Rembrandt painting this scene.[citation needed] Here Judas is portrayed as a wretched and remorseful figure. Bloodstains on Judas' head show he has torn his hair out.[4] Huygens used the words "maddened" and "devoid of hope" of Judas, and Rembrandt illustrates this with Judas' wringing hands and pained grimace.[citation needed] The high priest has dramatically turned away from Judas and the other elders seem at a loss what to do. The one reading a codex seems to be counting up the pieces of silver (there are 30). Nobody meets the eye of anyone else: a technique used by Edward Hopper centuries later.[citation needed]


  1. ^ van de Wetering, Ernst (2000). Rembrandt: The Painter at Work. Amsterdam University Press. p. 268, note 8. ISBN 0-520-22668-2.
  2. ^ Perlove, Shelley; Silver, Larry. Rembrandt's Faith: Church and Temple in the Dutch Golden Age. University Park, PA: Penn State Press. p. 234. ISBN 978-0-271-04838-3.
  3. ^ "Huygens ontdekt Rembrandt". CODART. Retrieved 2022-12-28.
  4. ^ Cotter, Holland (2016-06-02). "'Rembrandt's First Masterpiece,' a Portrait of a Biblical Betrayal". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-12-28.


  • David Bomford, Art in the making - Rembrandt, Catalogue, The National Gallery (London 2006), p. 54–61.