Famous paintings of Jesus at Gethsemane

After the Last Supper, Jesus and three of his closest friends went into an olive garden outside the walls of Jerusalem. Jesus faced a terrible ordeal and, while his friends slept, he prayed to be spared. His prayer strengthened him and he was able to accept his future, placing his faith in God.

Hidden meanings

  • Agony in the Garden, paintings, Carl BlochPeter is shown as grey-haired with a curly beard and perhaps a sword (in anticipation of his cutting off the servant’s ear); James who has dark hair and a beard; John, the youngest, with long hair sometimes down to his shoulders.
  • Many paintings merge the Agony with the Betrayal – look for a group of approaching figures in the background. These are soldiers led by Judas.
  • Paintings of the Agony suggest that Jesus saw his future all too clearly. They sometimes show an angel offering him the instruments of torture.
  • Hebrew Gat Shemanim (Gethsemane) means ‘oil press’. The garden was an olive grove.
  • ‘Agony’ is the spiritual struggle between the two sides of Jesus’ nature, the human that feared suffering and wanted to avoid it, the divine that gave him strength:
  • In early examples we may see, instead of the angel, the head of God the Father or his symbol, a right hand pointing out of a cloud.
Christ in the Garden of Olives, Nicolai Ge (Gai)

Christ in the Garden of Olives, Nicolai Ge (Gai)

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, Heinrich Hofmann, 1890

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, Heinrich Hofmann, 1890

The Agony in the Garden, Ambrogio Bergognone, 1501

The Agony in the Garden, Ambrogio Bergognone, 1501

The Agony in the Garden, Giovanni Bellini, 1459

The Agony in the Garden, Giovanni Bellini, 1459

The Agony in the Garden, El Greco, 1590-1600

The Agony in the Garden, El Greco, 1590-1600

The Agony in the Garden, Fra Angelico, fresco, 1450

The Agony in the Garden, Fra Angelico, fresco, 1450

Gethsemane, Carl Bloch

Gethsemane, Carl Bloch

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