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.