Caravaggio: Celebrating a Masterpiece

Visitors to Beyond Caravaggio in front of the Taking of Christ. © National Gallery of Ireland.
Image © National Gallery of Ireland. Photographer Jack Caffrey, The Pimlico Project, 2017.

The remarkable history of Caravaggio's painting The Taking of Christ.

On 16 November 1993, there was talk of a light rail being built to connect the airport to Dublin city centre. It was reported that 15% of Irish primary school students were missing school regularly. Sleepless in Seattle was in Irish cinemas. And, most importantly, a very special event took place in the National Gallery of Ireland: The Taking of Christ (1602) by Caravaggio was unveiled to the public for the first time.

We are grateful to the Jesuit Community, Leeson Street, for placing the painting on indefinite loan to the Gallery, acknowledging the generosity of Dr Marie Lea-Wilson, who had presented the picture to them.

Read on to discover the web of people and circumstances behind the painting.

Photo of a nameplate attached to the frame of Caravaggio's painting

How did a masterpiece by Caravaggio end up in a Dublin dining room?

Read about the painting's remarkable journey from Rome to Dublin.

Caravaggio 25 Years: Display

In 2018, to mark the twenty-five year anniversary of the unveiling of Caravaggio's painting in Dublin, the Gallery held a series of events; installed a temporary display (14 November 2018–25 February 2019) revealing the remarkable history of the painting; and commissioned a new poem from acclaimed Dublin poet and playwright Stephen James Smith.


4 October – 22 November 2022

The Art of Light

An 8-week online art appreciation course exploring the artistic efforts to capture and translate the effects of light.

Book tickets for The Art of Light course