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The Agony in the Garden

Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

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This is the night before the Crucifixion. Jesus, knowing he will be betrayed and die on the Cross, has taken Peter, James and John to watch over him while he prays, but they have fallen asleep. According to the Gospel of Luke, Christ asked God to ‘remove this cup from me’, and an angel appeared to comfort him. Here, it bears the cup from which he will have to drink, and points to a vision of the Instruments of the Passion – the cross, the crown of thorns, the column at which Christ was flagellated, the sponge soaked in vinegar he was given to drink and the shaft of the spear that pierced his side. In the background Judas leads the soldiers coming to arrest Christ into the Garden of Gethsemene: one carries a lamp, the light of which gleams on their armour.

The National Gallery, London



about 1590


Oil on canvas


H 100.3 x W 114.3 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Presented by the Trustees of Sir Denis Mahon's Charitable Trust through the Art Fund, 2013

Work type



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Normally on display at

The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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