The Agony in the Garden

Valerio Castelloabout 1645

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Taking the subject from the Gospel of Luke, Valerio Castello captured the dramatic scene in which Christ prays earnestly before his Crucifixion, on a knoll above the apostles sleeping below. The artist relied on line to create gradations of light and shadow and to model the figures' forms, unifying the drawing with a wide range of hatching and cross-hatching. Light diagonal lines create the dark clouds on the left and the folds in the apostles' robes, while delicate strokes of bodycolor create luminous patterns of highlights.

Scholars have been unable to identify any painting whose composition corresponds to this drawing. Judging from its high degree of finish and small scale, it was more likely made as a design for an etching or engraving.

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  • Title: The Agony in the Garden
  • Creator: Valerio Castello
  • Date: about 1645
  • Physical Dimensions: 13 x 15.9 cm (5 1/8 x 6 1/4 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pen and blackish brown ink and light brown wash, heightened with white gouache
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 92.GB.78
  • Inscription: Inscribed near the bottom left corner in brown ink, Parmigiano. The reverse of the old mount carries a large cursive inscription, upper center, in the hand previously believed to be that of William Kent, also in brown ink, Parmigiano. This is now thought to be the hand of the first earl of Leicester's mounter and framer, the Huguenot gilder and framer Thomas Pelletier. Numbered in the center in black chalk, 8.
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: Italian
  • Classification: Drawings