In the hours before his arrest, Christ retired to the Mount of Olives to pray with three of his apostles. While the latter slept, an angel appeared to Christ, strengthening him to overcome his fear of death. Poussin dramatized this vision by displaying the instruments of the Passion -notably the crown of thorns, the cross, the nails- thereby emphasizing Christ's awareness and acceptance of his coming suffering.
This painting was first owned by Cardinal Francesco Barberini (1597-1679), one of the great artistic patrons of the Baroque period.
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