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After Correggio, The Agony in the Garden

Key facts
Full title The Agony in the Garden
Artist After Correggio
Artist dates active 1494; died 1534
Date made probably about 1640-1750
Medium and support Oil on poplar
Dimensions 38.1 × 41.9 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1824
Inventory number NG76
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Agony in the Garden
After Correggio

This painting is an early copy of one of the most celebrated of Correggio’s small religious paintings. For a long time it was regarded as Correggio’s genuine version, even after the arrival in London of the original from the Spanish Royal Collection (now in Apsley House, London). The Apsley House painting was damaged by fire and the National Gallery’s copy records the landscape’s original appearance.

Following the Last Supper, Christ kneels in the Garden of Gethsemane and appeals to God to be spared from his imminent suffering and death. In this startling composition, the angel and Christ are placed daringly close to the left edge to allow for an expansive nocturnal landscape with dramatic lighting effects. On the right, the apostles sleep on the ground, unaware of Christ’s turmoil. The light that radiates from Christ himself is brighter than the dawn, recalling his words: ‘I am the light of the world’ (John 8: 12).

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