Andrea Mantegna 1431 – 1506

Agony in the Garden (San Zeno)

tempera on panel (71 × 94 cm) — 1457-1459 Museum Musée des beaux-arts, Tours

Andrea Mantegna biography

This work is linked to Matthew 26:39

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Left panel of the predella of the San Zeno altarpiece. During the reign of Napoleon over Italy all panels of the altarpiece were taken to France; the predella panels were never returned to Verona. This is the original panel. In Verona a replica is on display. The right panel shows the Resurrection.

The painting shows an agonized Jesus. He seems truly afraid of what he feels will happen to him. In the background soldiers led by Judas are already approaching.

The disciples Peter, John and James are sleeping. In this moment of fear Jesus is thus left to himself by the people he asked to remain awake.

Earlier, around 1455, Andrea Mantegna made a different painting about this episode (here). In that work the landscape is much more barren than here.

Some writers say the depiction of Jerusalem matches the description the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus made.

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