The Agony in the Garden

Nicolas Poussin French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 623

Poussin executed this painting just after arriving in Rome, when he was brimming with innovation and curiosity but had not yet attained a firm footing in the city’s art world. It soon entered the collection of Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo, the brother of Poussin’s most significant Roman patron, the antiquarian-connoisseur Cassiano dal Pozzo. A zigzag composition unites two scenes: Christ anticipates his mortal death by crucifixion while his disciples slumber. The foreground figures’ monumentality and the architecture document Poussin’s fascination with the classical world, while the treatment of light in this nocturnal scene and the cascade of putti come from his interest in Venetian Renaissance painters. Poussin’s rare use of a copper support made it a particularly precious artwork.

The Agony in the Garden, Nicolas Poussin (French, Les Andelys 1594–1665 Rome), Oil on copper

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