Christ on the Mount of Olives

Jan Jablonský (*1737) – ? | oil on canvas, 72 × 88 cm

The composition of the canvas is based on a graphic sheet by Pietro Monaco, part of the cycle Raccolta di 112 stampe di pitture della storia sacra. It was inspired by the work of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. The central figure of Christ dying in the arms of an angel holding a chalice recalls the text of Matthew’s Gospel “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mt 26:39) and recalls the Eucharist, with which the scene and the symbol are closely linked. During the moments on the Mount of Olives, Jesus experiences a fundamental inner struggle between his created and divine nature. The inevitable fulfilment of the destiny to which he was destined brings to his face both sorrow and hope for the future redemption of humanity. The tension between the peaceful contemplation of the son of God and his entourage is brought into the composition by the soldiers accompanied by the high priests who come to arrest Christ. Currently, the authorship of the work is attributed to Jan Jablonski, based on the similarity of the painter’s rendering, stylization and modeling of the faces, as well as the overall lighting direction and internal dynamics of the scene to works associated with his name. The cabinet format of the painting suggests that it was probably commissioned for contemplation in private, as the subject matter of the canvas alludes to.