The Agony in the Garden, c. 1496-1497
woodcut on laid paper
39.7 x 28.3 cm; image: 39.2 x 27.8 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 1383)
Also known as "Christ on the Mount of Olives", the subject is from the Passion cycle, which relates the sequence of events during Christ’s capture, trial, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. Christ anxiously contemplates his destiny while the disciples Peter, John, and James sleep nearby, unable to keep watch with their master. In the background, Judas leads an armed band through the gates of the garden of Gethsemane. Dürer has taken full advantage of the landscape potential of the setting to lavish as much attention and detail on the trees, plant life, and rugged scenery as on the central figures - note, for instance, the carefully observed fern in the lower right. The series of fifteen prints, known as "The Large Passion", took ten years to complete and was published only in 1511, when a title page was added.