Flemish School, circa 1650
The Agony in the Garden
Pen and brown and grey ink, grey wash, red bodycolour, heightened in white, black ink framing lines, 211 x 220 mm (8.3 x 8.7 inch)
- Unidentified collector’s mark ‘EN’ (red ink, lower left)
- Private collection, France
This beautiful work of obvious high quality has so far eluded a firm attribution. Professor Hans Vlieghe has noted that it is typical of the Flemish school and dates to around 1650, possibly a little later.1 The work seems to be connected to a drawing of the same subject, which is so closely related in composition that the two drawings may be preparatory to the same artistic project, presumably a painting or altarpiece, which is no longer known (see fig.).2 The related drawing has been attributed to Cornelis Schut (1597–1655), a pupil of Rubens and one of the founding members of the ‘Bentveughel’ group of painters in Rome. The influence of Jacob Jordaens (1593–1678) is also noticeable.
The draughtsman has depicted one of the most touching episodes of the Passion. After the Last Supper, Christ took leave of His Apostles and prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Overwhelmed by sadness and anguish, He spoke: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.” Then, a little while later, He said, “If this cup cannot pass by, but I must drink it, your will be done!” (Matthew 26:42). The anonymous artist has depicted Christ’s symbolic cup as a physical object, being offered by an angel, while Christ is supported by another angel.
1. Email correspondence 3 February 2017.
2. Graphite, pen and brown ink, brown wash, heightened with white, 305 x 242 mm; private collection, Switzerland; see exh. cat. Hundert Zeichnungen, Zürich (Galerie Kurt Meissner) 1984, cat. no. 74, repr. (colour).Request more information »