Rembrandt Harmensz Van Rijn: The Agony in the Garden

Rembrandt1

The Agony in the Garden
Signed and dated with dry point; last digit missing:
Rembrandt f. 165
Rembrandt Harmensz Van Rijn
Dutch, 1606-1669
Etching

Just prior to his betrayal, Jesus took his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemani to pray and prepare for the coming Crucifixion. There, he agonized in prayer. The disciples, overcome by sorrow, fell asleep. About the time of this etching, Rembrandt declared bankruptcy and suffered the loss of his house and possessions. His beloved mistress, Hendriekji Stoffels, had died a few years earlier. Typical of his later works, this etching reflects Rembrandt’s personal sorrow. The dark chiaroscuro heightens the drama of the moment and provides contrast for the angel who comforts Jesus. The menacing city walls loom over the figure. In the lower corner, the disciples sleep.

Private collection of Michele Bechtell and Edward Fritzi