Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane while three of his disciples – Peter, James and John – sleep. An angel reveals a cup and a paten, symbols of his impending sacrifice. In the background, Judas approaches with the Roman soldiers who will arrest Jesus (New Testament, Mark 14: 32-43).
This painting is closely related to 'The Agony in the Garden' (probably slightly earlier in date), by Bellini's brother-in-law Andrea Mantegna which is also in the Collection ). The two pictures both probably derive from a drawing by Giovanni's father, Jacopo Bellini. In Giovanni Bellini's version, the treatment of the dawn light is particularly noteworthy.