Bartsch 75; White-Boon 75; Hind 293;
NHD 269, first state (of three); before the two dots added in the upper right corner.
On paper with unique watermark “Winged Eagle”, Laurentius, vol. II, no. 300A (1658),
no. 302 (1669) and no. 304 (1666).
Rembrandt’s etching ‘Agony in the Garden’ shows Christ in his most anguished,
human moment as he confronts his upcoming Passion at the same time where he earlier
prophesied the Temple’s destruction (Matt. 24). Christ’s agony in the garden is recounted
in most of the Gospels (Matt. 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46), which narrate the
lonely vigil on the Mount of Olives when Jesus, forsaken by his closest disciples, praying
for his Father to remove this ‘bitter cup’ of torment that awaits him. Rembrandt depicts
the Angel embracing Christ in the darkness of a moonlit night. Jesus’s physical frailty and
deep sorrow are conveyed by his slumping body and downcast eyes, but mostl eloquently
by the single line that arches downward across his forehead. Christ here has begun to pray
‘more earnestly’, buttressed by the angel. Rembrandt’s etching departs from visual
convention because the angel embraces Christ rather than bringing him a cup (chalice), as
in for instance Dürer’s woodcut from the ‘Large Passion’ series of 1511.
A similar group of Chris tand the Angel can be seen in a drawing with the same subject in
pen and ink in the Kunsthalle, Hamburg (Benesch 899), which also has been called a
preliminary drawing for the same print.
Urban M. Noseda, London, in 1854; Paul Davidsohn, Berlin (Lugt 654); his
sale C.G. Boerner, Leipzig sale 123, April 1921, bought by Strölin; Maurice Gobin, Paris;
sold in 1923 to private collection, Paris; Laurentius, Middelburg; a private collection.
Plate apparently lost after the “Collection of 200 etchings” in 1816; with Nowell-Usticke (1967): C2
a delicate and beautifully balanced 17th century impression.