Christ on the Mount of Olives
31 7/8 x 20 7/8 in. (81 x 53 cm)
Master of Herzogenburg
Medium and Support:
Oil on wood panel
Purchased with the Helen Barrett Montgomery Bequest
Location: Currently on view
Originally part of a larger work, this late medieval panel painting depicts Christ, accompanied by three of his disciples, praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives, just outside Jerusalem. While he prays for the strength to accept his predestined death, his disciples, whom he has asked to keep watch, fall asleep. Although the painting is unsigned, scholars identify its artist as the “Master of Herzogenburg” because of striking visual similarities with another late medieval altarpiece from the Austrian village of Herzogenburg.
The many pieces of tissue on the painting’s surface were applied by a conservator decades ago to secure unstable and flaking paint. Other issues include cracking in the upper right and center of the panel. MAG staff is now in the process of working with the University of Buffalo conservation program to conduct X-ray and infrared analysis; this should allow us to see the drawing below the painted surface.
[Label text from It Came From the Vault exhibition, 2013]