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Title The Agony in the Garden
Collection Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Garofalo, Benvenuto Tisi da (Italian painter, 1481-1559)
Date 1524 (dated)
Description Garofalo was one of the leading painters in the city of Ferrara in northern Italy. According to Vasari, he visited Rome where he studied the Sistine ceiling and was befriended by Raphael. Here, he depicts Christ's agony in the garden on the Mount of Olives as described in the Bible. While his apostles slept, Jesus prayed, in fear of his imminent death but surrendering to the will of God with the words, 'Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.' (Mark 14. 32-44). An angel is shown appearing to Jesus with a symbol of the crucifixion indicating that the prophecies were about to be fulfilled. In the background, Judas can be seen bringing the soldiers to arrest him. The artist has unified the four figures within a triangle with the head of Jesus at the apex. The book of scriptures held by the apostle Peter is on the central axis of the picture, emphasising the theme of Biblical prophecy.
Current Accession Number 1964P10
Former Accession Number P.1064
Inscription front (on rock by St Peter) 'MDXXIV'
Subject religion (Agony in the Garden)
Measurements 119.4 x 152.5 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Purchased with the aid of the Museums and Galleries Commission 1964.
Provenance Strozzi, Florence; Count Paolo Paolozzi; Agnew's 1964.
Principal Exhibitions Old Masters Summer Exhibition, Agnew's, London, 1952, cat. no. 12.
Publications 'Old Masters at Agnew's and Appleby's', Burlington Magazine, vol. 104, No. 711, 1962, p. 271; Foreign Paintings in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, A Summary Catalogue, 1983, no. 70, ill.;
Notes Versions in Ferrara Pinacoteca and National Gallery (no. 642). Cecil Gould refers to a Christ in the Garden by Garofalo as lot 16, Duke of Lucca sale, 5 June 1841, London.

Garofalo trained with Boccaccino. The angel in this painting is clearly derived from Boccaccino's fresco, Annunciation to Joachim (Cremona Duomo) on which Garofalo assisted Boccaccino according to Vasari.

Rights Owner Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Author Dr Patricia Smyth



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