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Attributed to Lo Spagna: 'The Agony in the Garden'

Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane while three of his disciples sleep. An angel reveals a chalice to him. Judas - who holds a money bag - approaches with the Roman soldiers who will arrest Jesus. New Testament (Mark 14: 32-43).

Once thought to be by the young Raphael this panel has in recent years been attributed to Lo Spagna or a follower of Perugino. The composition is based on Perugino's 'Agony in the Garden' (Florence, Uffizi), painted in Florence in the 1490s for San Giusto. Individual figures also derive from works by Perugino (e.g.'The Transfiguration', Rome, Vatican). On the basis of its relation to these works the panel is generally dated to the period 1500-5.

There are four pricked preparatory drawings attributed to Lo Spagna in the Gabinetto dei Disegni (Florence). These are said to correspond in size with the figures of this work and are fragments of one cartoon. The composition was reversed in a picture of 1530 by Giannicola di Paola for a church in Perugia (now Galleria Nazionale).


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