The Agony in the Garden, by Jacopo Bassano (1510-1592).

Oil on canvas, 127cm by 110.5cm.

Christ is shown praying on a mount in the Garden of Gethsemmane after the Last Supper; his disciples asleep in the foreground.

The painting is listed in the 1690 Devonshire Schedule, an inventory recording an immense bequest from Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire (1619-1689) to her daughter Anne, Countess of Exeter (1649-1703).

Listed under: ‘Oyle pictures … A Night piece of our Saviour in the Mount of ffour figures in a Guilt fframe by Bassan.’

The 1738 Burghley Inventory gives rather more detail: ‘The Jewel Closet….Over the Chimney a Night Piece of Our Saviour’s Passions, he praying, drops of Blood falling from his Face upon the Ground, an Angel descending in the Clouds, where he descends reflects a Light on Our Saviour, and the Apostles who are asleep, 4 Foot 4 Inches long, 4 Foot broad.’

The artist, who was born in Bassano, studied under Veronese (1528-1588), in Venice, where he was also influenced by the work of Titian (d.1576).

He returned to Bassano in 1529 and set up his own studio where all four of his sons trained and worked.


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